About PASS


Who we are

PASS was founded by Augustino Ting Mayai and Bol Deng Akech, both in South Sudan, and Fran Roby in the United States. The program operates under the oversight and direction of the PASS Board of Directors that includes members of the Apuk Padoc community, one chief, one educator and one elder, as well as the Executive Director.

The Selection Committee has six members, three based in South Sudan led by August Ting Mayai, and three members in the United States led by Fran Roby. The Selection Committee members in South Sudan review the applications, then forwards them to the Selection Committee members in the U.S. for final selection.

The program has offices in the U.S. and South Sudan. The Headquarters, in Juba, South Sudan, is administered by the Executive Director (ED), who reports to the Board of Directors. The ED is the Chief Operation Officer and manager of the day-to-day activities of the program. Augustino Ting Mayai will serve as the ED for the first year of PASS.

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Why we established the PASS Scholarship

Apuk Padoc is a community in Warrap State, South Sudan. Its population is estimated to be about 90,000, the vast majority younger than the age of 30 years. This community has been deprived of development opportunities for decades, exemplified by limited access to basic services such as education and healthcare. Only 10% of Apoc Padoc residents are literate.

Murle people are pastoralists in a country where unpredictable shortages occur in rain, drinking water, bush fruits and cattle grass. Education and jobs are almost absent and there are very few possibilities to earn money by producing for domestic or foreign markets. With no roads throughout a vast territory, effective law enforcement is almost impossible. Living in extreme poverty and with few legitimate ways to survive, the Murle, Dinka and Nuer tribes face severe challanges in daily lives. Education is the best way of empowering the new generation of youth to understand that there is a better way forward for themselves and their communities, and to give them the tools they need to create a better society.

With the exception of PASS, Apoc Padoc area and Murle youth have virtually no college scholarship programs for which they can apply. Post high school education is the key to providing these communities with a much needed trained labor force.

How PASS is funded

PASS is a non-profit, 501(c3) organization registered with the IRS in the United States and with the government of South Sudan. PASS is completely funded by sponsors and donations. PASS is staffed by volunteers, so more than 95% of your sponsorship or donation money goes directly to the students.

The PASS Team

Augustino Ting Mayai


A former Sudanese Lostboy who resettled in the US in 2001, Augustino Ting Mayai is the current Director of Research at the Sudd Institute, South Sudan’s premier policy think tank. He holds a PhD  from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently studies how state effectiveness affects health and educational outcomes in South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Augustino is the co-founder of PASS, and will be serving as the Executive Director for the first year, and leads the South Sudan branch of the Selection Committee.

Fran Roby


Fran Roby was a Guidance and College Counselor in Minnesota for 33 years. He brings his passion, experience, and expertise assisting American students in preparation for college, as well as years of volunteer work with refugee and immigrant communities in Minnesota to the PASS program. Fran is the co-founder of PASS, and leads the USA branch of the Selection Committee.

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Bol Deng Akech


Simon Bol Deng Akech is a graduate of the University of Juba and majored in agricultural engineering. His education largely focused on the mindset, function over form, and stability over showmanship. He conducts agricultural research to improve food production in South Sudan.  Simon is the first person in his family to graduate from high school and thus the first to attend the university. Simon currently works for Schlumberger as equipment and machinery operator.

Jan Sircar


Jan Sircar Hickey is the proud mother of children and grandmother of 9. This she considers her greatest treasure/accomplishment. Her passion and purpose is to help make the world a better place. Favorite quote by Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi. “Be The Change You Want To See In The World”. I’m honored to serve on the PASS Board helping to improve and bring education opportunities and quality of life for the wonderful people of Southern Sudan.

Jan met Ting, his cousin Gabe and other Lost Boys of Southern Sudan back in 2007. “I was in awe and wonder of their humility, purity and optimistic happy smiles. I could see God in their countenances. Despite all they have endured I know without a shadow a doubt that through their trials and tribulations God prepared, refined and strengthened them to become great leaders for their people and
their new country - Southern Sudan”.

Jan’s professional background is in Sales/ Marketing/Networking/Business Development. Certified Spiritual/Emotional Healing Coach/ Facilitator.


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Karen Kitchel


Karen Kitchel is passionate about helping those who are less fortunate. With 30 years of experience at BI Worldwide, followed by 12 years managing a nonprofit, she now fills her days with a variety of volunteer activities.  In addition to serving on the PASS Board, she sponsors 7 scholars, is active in the Twin Cities Prison Ministry, serves meals and
hosts events for the homeless, and helps Hispanic kindergarteners learn to read and
write. She also hosts a website at www.scatteringkindess.com.
What drew Karen to PASS was “Meeting the co-founders and the words of a scholar
who said: “I want to break the chain of poverty through education.”


Danielle Enblom


Danielle is an educator, researcher, and performing artist. She holds a degree in Sustainability and Urban Studies from the University of Minnesota, an MA in Ethnochoreology (dance anthropology), a Diploma in Traditional Irish Music, and is a trained teacher in the Steiner/Waldorf School system. Danielle has worked with community leaders, policymakers, and grassroots organizations around the issue of unsheltered homelessness in the Twin Cities, and works in youth development. Danielle's work in the arts addresses issues of modern and historical cultural identity through cultural practice.