In 1987, at the age of 5, Deng escaped from his village in South Sudan while it was under attack by soldiers during the Sudan Civil War. He joined 30,000 other Lost Boys of Sudan and walked over 1000 miles to find safety at refugee camps, first in Ethiopia and then in Kenya. In 2001, after nearly fourteen years in refugee camps, Deng was selected for resettlement in the United States with 3,800 other boys. Deng worked hard to receive an education and graduated from California State University-San Jose with a BS in Health Science and a Masters in Public Health from Touro University. Deng is passionately committed to improving literacy in South Sudan and in 2009 worked with funds from ImpactAVillage to direct the building of a primary school in Malek, South Sudan.
Deng frequently gives inspirational talks at schools in the U.S. about his experiences as one of the Lost Boys of Sudan and as a refugee in the U.S.