Western Sydney University's powerful refugee student recruitment advert takes the Internet by storm

The video serves as a stark reminder of what can be if a country opens its doors to those in need

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The Independent Online

Upbeat music, high-definition imagery, and students laughing on campus – with the odd anecdote about how great the social life is added in – usually make up a university’s student recruitment video.

However, one university has broken away from the norm with a recruitment video so powerful and relevant that it is taking the Internet by storm.

As part of its ‘Unlimited’ campaign, Western Sydney University in New South Wales, Australia, has told the harrowing story of one of its graduates, refugee lawyer Deng Thiak Adut, who was snatched from his mother as a young boy in Sudan and forced to train as a child soldier.

Having been smuggled from the country some time later in the back of a truck, he arrived in Australia where he went on to study and graduate from the university’s law course.

Watch the moving advert:

Deng Thiak Adut’s full story, courtesy of the university:

In 1985, the Sudanese government began destroying villages eventually leading to the rise of the People's Liberation Army. Two years later, six-year old Deng Thiak Adut was taken away from his family’s banana farm in South Sudan and conscripted into the Army. After undergoing military training, several years of army service and witnessing numerous atrocities, Deng was still a boy when he was shot in the back while running through a village.

A further two years later, a chance meeting led to Deng reuniting with his brother who helped smuggle him out of the country by hiding him in a corn sack on the back of a truck. The two brothers befriended an Australian family and eventually arrived as refugees in 1998. After working at a local service station to learn English, Deng enrolled at TAFE and completed his Advanced Diploma in Accounting before deciding to study law. In 2005 he enrolled in a Bachelor of Laws at Western Sydney University and became the first person in his family to graduate with a law degree.

Deng now works as a lawyer in Bankstown, where he is determined to ensure that other Sudanese refugees have the legal advice and support they need before entering the court system.

Now determined to help other Sudanese refugees, the university’s poignant video has prompted its Facebook page to be flooded with messages of support for the graduate and the campaign:

(via Western Sydney University/Facebook)

The university’s video couldn’t have come at a more relevant time as the refugee crisis continues to develop in Europe. However, the emotional advert serves as a stark reminder that if a country open its doors to those in need, people from all walks of life can come together to benefit humanity as a whole.