The Hope Road Project

May 8, 2014 – Hope Road: Walk for South Sudan

You are invited to join us for a journey along the Hope Road. South Sudan Orphan Education would like to announce the launch of the Hope Road project. Our organisation, made up of teachers, media and business professionals and others is throwing its weight behind the vision of Zacharia Machiek to build a primary school, catering principally to the needs of girls, in the village where he was born. Zacharia is one of the “lost boys” of South Sudan who as a child was separated from his family and barely survived while fleeing from the terrible conflicts that racked his country. He now wants to help his community in South Sudan and has enlisted our support in this task. In this inspirational project the Australian and South Sudanese communities will be coming together to realise new possibilities. We are embarking on a journey down the Hope Road.

The major event of the Hope Road project is a forty day walk, by Zacharia and walking companions, through the cities and towns of northern New South Wales during June and July of this year. The walk will take Zacharia and his companions from Tweed Heads to Sydney.

Zacharia’s vision and the Hope Road walk

Zacharia Machiek is a former refugee from South Sudan. He has been able to experience a settled life in Australia that is sharply at odds with the constant dangers he faced as a young boy in his homeland amidst the strife of a brutal civil war. Arising out of his experience of being alienated from his family and community but also with a sense of what can be achieved when a helping hand is extended, Zacharia has become an avid spokesperson for the South Sudanese community in Australia. He has a great enthusiasm for engaging with the Australian community and helping to inform them about his homeland and the troubles that have beset it and only now are starting to be alleviated. The Hope Road project is an extension of that vision but now Zacharia is taking his mission to engage and inform to the road. Zacharia has walked many roads in his time. In his childhood he, and many people around him, were left with no choice but to flee the invading army from the North. The Hope Road walk, though, is motivated by Zacharia’s vision of hope and belief in the good will and generosity of ordinary Australians. On the Hope Road walk, Zacharia will be meeting with Australians from all walks of life and talking to them about his vision. He will also be seeking their financial support to build a primary school in his home village of Abyei Achok.
Zacharia has known hardship but also hope. As a “lost boy” himself Zacharia has experienced how a life can be turned upside down and witnessed how it can all too easily and abruptly be ended. But Zacharia has always found compassionate and supportive people along the way and this has given him a sense of hope. Zacharia has received much of his education as an adult here in Australia and this has been a particularly formative experience for him and has confirmed him in his conviction that education can dispel fear and despair and give rise to a new life-affirming hope. With this rich if sometimes traumatic personal experience to draw on he has come to see the importance that the education of children in South Sudan will play in creating a brighter future there for all. It is this vision that informs the Hope Road project.
Late in 2012, after a long separation from his family and community Zacharia was at last able to return to his country of birth to reconnect with his family and make preparations for school construction. At the time he observed: “The people there have nothing. Schooling of children, when it occurs, is conducted under the trees by volunteers.” The Hope Road project will be lending a hand to South Sudanese people working to make sure that the children and in particular the girls of the village of Abyei Achok receive an education that will serve them well and that will allow some of their hopes and dreams to be fulfilled.

Itinerary of the Hope Road walk

The following sets out the plan for the walk. The Itinerary will be regularly updated as events at various locations are finalised.

 Day  Date  Departing  Arriving  Events and Information
 1  Mon 16th June Tweed River High School,
Tweed Heads
 Murwillumbah Tweed River High School Launch of Hope Road: Walk for South Sudan
 2  Tue 17th June  Murwillumbah  Crabbes Creek
 3  Wed 18th June  Crabbes Creek  Mullumbimby

Crabbes Creek School visit

 4  Thur 19th June  Mullumbimby  Byron Bay Mullumbimby St John’s Primary School visit
 5  Fri 20th June  Byron Bay  Lennox Head Byron Bay High School visit
 6  Sat 21st June  Lennox Head  Ballina
 7  Sun 22nd June  Ballina  Alstonville Rotary hosted Breakfast with short talk by Zacharia Machiek and short film by Tom Zubrycki.
 8  Mon 23rd June  Alstonville  Lismore Alstonville High School visit (morning)St Paul’s Presbyterian Church Hall188 Keen St, Lismore – 5pm: Sanctuary Northern Rivers hosted public event – A welcome for the Hope Road walkers, Zacharia Machiek and Janet Dyne and mark and celebrate the 10th anniversary of African settlement in Lismore as well as Refugee Week.Open to the public
 9  Tue 24th June  Lismore  Woodburn St John’s College Woodlawn visit (morning)Karinga Motel Lismore 7 – 9pm
A la Carte Dinnerwith short film and talkBookings:

(02) 6621 2787

10  Wed 25th June  Woodburn  Evans Head Illawong Hotel, 3 Oak St, Evans Head Evening reception for Hope Road walkers Zacharia Machiek and Janet Dyne. A trivia night fundraiser followed by Zacharia’s presentation and short film.
11  Thur 26th June  Evans Head  Black Rocks
12  Fri 27th June  Black Rocks  Yamba
13  Sat 28th June  Yamba  Lawrence
14  Sun 29th June  Lawrence  Grafton 10:30am: Grafton Gunehlgan Aboriginal Corporation Morning TeaAboriginal corporation members and invited guests.Short film and talk by ZachariaOpen to the public
15  Mon 30th June  Grafton  Grafton region
16  Tue 1st July  Grafton region  Grafton region
17  Wed 2nd July  Grafton region  Corindi Beach
18  Thur 3rd July  Corindi Beach  Woolgoolga  TBA
19  Fri 4th July  Woolgoolga  Coffs Harbour  TBA
20  Sat 5th July  Coffs Harbour  Urunga
21  Sun 6th July  Urunga  Nambucca
22  Mon 7th July  Nambucca  Macksville Uniting Church Hall 6pmBBQ Dinner hosted jointly by the Macksville and Nambucca Heads Rotary Clubs.- serving of meal (BBQ) and then- Zacharia to be invited to speak (around 7pm).Entry – $10 per person
23  Tue 8th July  Macksville  Kempsey region
24  Wed 9th July  Kempsey region  Kempsey Green Hills School – fundraising for Hope Road

Kempsey Odd Fellows Hall 7-9pm

Hope Road Kempsey event

Meet Zacharia and enjoy Music and pizza.

Tom’s short film will be shown.

Open to the public

25  Thur 10th July  Kempsey  Crescent Head
26  Fri 11th July  Crescent Head  Port Macquarie region
27  Sat 12th July  Port Macquarie region  Port Macquarie
28  Sun 13th July  Port Macquarie  Laurieton  TBA
29  Mon 14th July  Laurieton  Lansdowne Area  TBA
30  Tue 15th July  Lansdowne Area  Taree  TBA
31  Wed 16th July  Taree  Forster/Tuncurry
32  Thur 17th July  Forster/Tuncurry  Smith’s Lake
33  Fri 18th July  Smith’s Lake  Bulahdelah Bulahdelah Central School visit
34  Sat 19th July  Bulahdelah  Tea Gardens
35  Sun 20th July  Tea Gardens  Nelson’s Bay Area
36  Mon 21st July  Nelson’s Bay Area  Newcastle  TBA
37  Tue 22nd July  Newcastle  Caves Beach
38  Wed 23rd July  Caves Beach  Budgewoi
39  Thur 24th July  Budgewoi  Terrigal
40  Fri 25th July  Terrigal  Northern Beaches Area
41  Sat 26th July  Northern Beaches Area  North Sydney
42  Sun 27th July  North Sydney St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney  TBA


What will Zacharia and his companion be doing along the Hope Road?

Zacharia and his companion will of course be walking, a lot. But importantly they will also be talking to people in the cities, towns and neighbourhoods along the way. For anyone or any organisation interested to meet with Zacharia SSOE will endeavour to make arrangements that will allow this to happen.

Owing to his firm commitment to education Zacharia wants, particularly, to engage with schools and students during the walk. Education, without doubt, will play a massive role in South Sudan as it embarks on the necessary transformations to bring about a brighter future. It is for that reason that it is fitting that a commitment to the value of education should also be at the heart of the Hope Road walk here in Australia. There will be ample opportunity for schools to organise meetings with Zacharia when he is in their neighbourhood. If you would like to send an expression of interest about meeting with Zacharia or having him give a presentation at your school just send an email to one of the addresses below and we will get back to you promptly to settle the necessary arrangements.

We believe that the Hope Road walk will be of interest to schools for a number of reasons:

  • The project will give students direct access to an inspirational educational project.
  • Zacharia is an excellent speaker and can give students first hand insight into the life of children in South Sudan and their daily activities, providing a snapshot of life in an African village.
  • Australian Teachers Of Media is supplying schools with a Study Guide, including Tom Zubrycki’s short film of Zacharia’s moving and joyful return to his village after 20 years and the commencement of the school construction project with the manufacture of the mud bricks to be used in the buildings. (The Study Guide may have already been received by some schools but is available to any interested school.)
  • Schools would be welcome to join in for a section of the walk in their town and their participation in any other activities associated with the project is also very welcome.
  • Students and staff will have the opportunity to follow the Hope Road journey through Facebook updates and a daily blog.

The Hope Road walk and project is supported by Rotary. Where possible Zacharia would like to meet and talk with local club members as well as district administrators and office holders. District Governors may have already received news about the walk. Certainly, SSOE would be happy to answer any enquiries in this connection.

We will also be making contact with other institutions, community organisations and churches along the way.

What can supporters of the Hope Road project do to help make it a great success?
There are many possibilities. First and foremost for people or organisations in areas that the walk passes through you may simply want to make arrangements to meet and talk with Zacharia. If you contact us we will endeavour to make sure that this can happen.
But if you are in a position to lend us some support there are many things that you could do. You might

  • organise a public function in your city or town as a fundraiser or promotional event for the Hope Road project – Zacharia will be glad to meet with you and give a presentation
  • come along to a public event in your area (we will announce these when details are settled)
  • offer a free hall or venue for the conduct of a public event
  • provide a PA or AV system for free for use in a public event and also offer your skills and time to operate it
  • provide a billet or multiple billets for our walkers and support crew (four in all)
  • make a monetary contribution to the project (we will announce a special webpage to accept contributions soon or you may remit monies collected from an event or perhaps you would just like to make a whip-round)
  • inform your friends about the Hope Road project and direct them to this site and other sites to be announced soon where more information about Hope Road can be found and contributions made
  • use Facebook and Twitter to spread the word
  • write articles for the press in your area or submit letters to the editor so that the news of the Hope Road walk is spread far and wide

If you are in a position to help us we would love to hear from you.

Will the Hope Road project end with the completion of the walk?

The Hope Road project has many facets – it will have a lot to do for some time to come. Zacharia may even have to get his walking shoes out again at some point! Also, what matters at the moment is that the Australian public embraces the Hope Road project. SSOE would like to encourage you to join in what should be a very enjoyable journey down the Hope Road.

Hope Road wishes to thank:
Alstonville Settlers Motel188 Ballina Rd, Alstonville NSW 2477

Phone:(02) 6628 5285
Amaroo on the Waterfront – Thank you to Amaroo on the Waterfront, for providing some of our participants a place to spend the night when in Smiths Lake (89 Amaroo Dr, Smiths Lake NSW 2428, Phone:0409 811 215).
Best Western Ballina Island Motor Inn1 Ronan Pl, Ballina NSW 2478

Phone:(02) 6686 8866
Best Western Kennedy Drive Motel203 Kennedy Dr, Tweed Heads West NSW 2485

Phone:(07) 5536 9288
BIG4 Bonny Hills Holiday Park24 Beach St, Bonny Hills NSW 2445

Phone:(02) 6585 5655
Anette Burke
Clarence River Bed and Breakfast17 Riverstone Rd, Seelands NSW 2460

Phone:(02) 6644 0055
Crabbes Creek Cottages274 Crabbes Creek Rd, Crabbes Creek NSW 2483

Phone:(02) 6677 1737

Haven Waters Motel and Apartments

9 The Parade, North Haven NSW 2443

Phone:(02) 6559 9303

Illawong Hotel

3 Oak St, Evans Head NSW 2473

Phone:(02) 6682 4222
Jagun Aged care1579 Pacific Hwy Moonee NSW 2450PO Box 649 Woolgoolga NSW 2456Phone 02 6656 0832Mobile 0417 806 239

Karinga Motel

258 Molesworth St, Lismore NSW 2480

Phone:(02) 6621 2787
Lawrence Tavern19 Bridge St, Lawrence NSW 2460

Phone:(02) 6647 7213

Mantra Quayside136 William St,(Corner of William and Short Street)Port Macquarie, NSW 2444

Phone:(02) 6588 4000
Wendy Morrison
Susan Parsons
Pelican Park -Nnambucca Heads5982 Pacific Hwy
Nambucca Heads, NSW, 2448(02) 6568 6505

Riverview Motor Inn

8 Crescent Ave, Taree NSW 2430

Phone:(02) 6552 2122

Ruskin House Bed & Breakfast

131 Jonson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481

Phone:(02) 6685 6144

We thank you all for the provision of complimentary accommodation fot the Hope Road walkers and crew.

Hope Road Contacts and Other Information

Janet Dyne, Hope Road Co-ordinator, South Sudan Orphan Education 0402 722 053

Chris Geagea, Secretary, South Sudan Orphan Education or 0425 212 518

Rob Clifton-Steele, Committee Member 0414 394 610

Tom Zubrycki, Committee Member

It is expected that in 2015 a documentary film about Zacharia and the Hope Road project will be released. Tom Zubrycki, the renowned Australian filmmaker, will be a documenting the walk and events along the way as a part of a greater film project which will tell the interlinked stories of Zacharia’s personal history and the building of the school in the village of Abyei Achok.