• "You've got to lose to win, never give up, never give in" Emmanuel Jal

Our Founder - Emmanuel Jal

Emmanuel Jal was born in rural South Sudan and spent the early years of his childhood in the midst of its long running civil war. At the age of 7, after the death of his mother, he was recruited as a child soldier for the Rebel army (SPLA). Amazingly he survived front line action and eventually managed to escape with 300 other "lost boys", enduring a 3 month trek on foot without any supplies to reach safety.

One of only a handful to survive the journey, Emmanuel was rescued by Emma McCune, a British Aid Worker, who smuggled him to freedom in Kenya and enrolled him in school for the first time. Tragically, Emma died shortly afterwards in a car accident. Over time Emmanuel began to find healing through the church and through music, becoming a world renowned recording artist.

As well as his music Emmanuel has acted in two feature films (the latest being The Good Lie, which was released worldwide in late 2014). He also tours the world speaking about the global issues that have affected his life. In August 2009 he spoke at the TED Global Conference in Oxford, a video of which can be viewed by clicking on the image. Emmanuel has recently released his fifth studio album The Key is E.

TED Talks

Music of a war child: in words and lyrics, Emmanuel tells the story of his amazing life

Throughout all this, Emmanuel has worked tirelessly with Gua Africa to carry on the legacy of education and peace instilled in him by Emma McCune. This passion was demonstrated by his decision to eat only one meal a day for 662 days as part of his Lose to Win campaign, helping us raise money for the primary school phase of our Emma Academy Project. It can also be seen in his video on our Get Involved page.

Emmanuel has recently launched an instant powder super food called Jal Gua. We are proud that 5% of every Jal Gua packet sold will go directly towards Gua Africa's feeding programmes. These programmes will provide food to all Gua student's in higher education in Nairobi as well as South Sudanese refugee children attending school at the Kakuma Refugee Camp. To learn more about Jal Gua and purchase an order visit: www.jalgua.com

For information on Emmanuel’s career visit: www.emmanueljal.com