Deruka Dekuek works within the local community of Ballarat, supporting the diverse refugee and migrant communities there. She was born in the South Sudan and, with her family, went into hiding in the bush for seven years to escape the violence of the civil war. At the age of 14 she left the war-torn country with her family and arrived in Australia at the age of 16, the family having been granted refugee settlement visas. It was only then that Deruka was able to begin her education. She later gained a Certificate in Aged Care in Community Services and then a Bachelor of Arts degree from Victoria University.
Deruka is a passionate community advocate and mentor, particularly to young women and girls. She shares her own lived experience, including the hardship and suffering, in order to assist others and believes in the importance and power of education. Raised within the traditional cultural structure of a Sudanese family, she has 35 siblings and was the first female of her family to graduate.
Deruka embraces the different social and cultural experiences and diversity of her life in Australia and has been excited to work regionally. She currently works with the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council, where she assists refugees and migrants to connect with support providers and find work opportunities.
Deruka is also an ambassador for CARE Australia, an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting global poverty.She is the mother of five children and is currently studying for a Masters in Development Studies at Victoria University. She knows that she will one day complete a PhD.