Sudanese born orphan, Beny Bol, uses restorative justice principles to resolve conflict and build resilience in Logan and Melbourne communities.
He is the President of the 60,000 strong Queensland African Communities’ Council and works closely with the Police and justice system to influence positive community behaviour.
“When I moved to Logan, I was disappointed to see some of the young immigrants not taking up the opportunity and the generosity in our Australian community,” he recalled.
“People are willing to help but instead of accepting that, youth were engaging in crime.
“My work is focused on getting out to where young people actually hang out and engaging with them directly.
“My team identifies the hotspots where a lot of antisocial behaviors and crimes are taking place and go there in the evenings and throughout the night.
“We provide them with free food, run social and sporting activities to build some relationships and get to understand what the challenges are, then connect them with youth workers and support teams.”
Beny openly shares his story of enduring famine, the loss of his parents and siblings, and a lack of education in Africa before receiving a humanitarian visa in 2007, to come to Australia.
He highlights his immigration journey and his work in Australian abattoirs and farms in order to support his family and participate in the further education opportunity offered to him.
“I tell them my story to let them know that that failure and success does not discriminate between the rich and the poor,” he said.
“I want them to know how lucky they are to live in Australia and that you can actually make it here.”
Determined to make his mark in his adopted Australian home, the former refugee never takes an opportunity for granted.
He now works collaboratively with the Logan Police, government organsiations and community services to develop and implement behaviour altering initiatives.
The program he runs in the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre has demonstrated outstanding success in breaking the cycle of poverty and crime.
“We run goal-setting programs inside the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre for young people who have been locked up,” he states.
“The program aims to break the cycle of re-offending by equipping them with skills and goals.
“By the time they get released, they already have a portfolio of all the things that they need to know in order to be what they want to be and break that kind of re-offending cycle.”
Recently, his work has extended to reach disenfranchised youth in Melbourne communities.
Beny dreams of continually furthering his education, career and community influence. His undergraduate and masters degrees from Griffith University will equip him to do so.
“I never thought that I would even go to high school when I was living in South Sudan,” he said.
“When I came to Australia, I thought, I need to explore all the educational opportunities. I would finish one level and then go to the next one!
“I recently graduated from my second degree at Griffith University, a Master of International Law, because I’ve always been interested in international affairs and foreign policy.
“I’m thinking, probably in some years to come, I could work for an international agency like the United Nations or working with a multinational corporation.”
His autobiography “The Ambition and Determination of an Orphan“, tells his story and determination to succeed by helping others along the way.
Hear more of Beny’s story on the Remarkable Tales podcast.