An incredible journey: From South Sudan to Maryville

MARYVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) Betty Asha was raised an orphan in South Sudan. In her village, it was custom for young girls to have arranged marriages to older men. Betty did not want to go down the traditional path, breaking the rules of her tribe.

“I looked at it as something not good for me,” said Asha. “I tried to resist it, so as a result of it I got into beatings.”

While in South Sudan, Betty met an American named Chris Hurley who was in the region with a team of missionaries. Hurley, a Maryville native, just wanted to help make a difference in a country going through a devastating civil war.

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South Sudanese woman who rescued thousands of refugees will study at Maryville College

She escaped a violent civil war and a forced marriage attempt and helped thousands of refugees escape South Sudan. And now she will attend Maryville College.

The college community plans to gather Sunday evening to celebrate the arrival of their newest student, Betty Asha, 25, of South Sudan.

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The South Sudanese student who spent her summer saving refugees

Betty Asha’s phone rings constantly. Each time she picks up, a voice on the other end asks for help, and each time, she springs into action.

Asha, 23, has become an unlikely hero in the conflict that has gripped South Sudan since July, when warring factions of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) clashed outside the presidential compound before celebrations to mark the fifth anniversary of independence.

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