Stephen Odusa was born in 1984 in a little town in South Sudan called Loa. His family belonged to the Ma’di tribe. He lived happily with his family on their farm growing crops and raising cattle until war erupted between government forces in the north, and an army of rebels in the south.
To survive, his family fled South Sudan and settled in northern Uganda in 1989. His mother stayed in South Sudan. His father died from suspected poisoning soon after arriving in Uganda. His mother joined him in 1994 and remained with him until 2000. She returned to South Sudan in 2005 after the signing of the Peace Agreement.
Stephen stayed in Adjumani Refugees Camp in northern Uganda and attended school until 2000. He then headed to Hoima Refugee Camp in western Uganda where he remained until 2002 when he was granted asylum to Australia. He couldn’t visit his mother because such a thing would have meant he would have had to stay in South Sudan. He arrived in Tasmania with two other boys and a cousin. Eventually, he lost contact with his mother all together.
In 2005, the war ended in South Sudan and Stephen would be able to visit his mother in 2009. By then Stephen had graduated from the University of Tasmania in 2008 with a Health Promotion/ Exercise Physiology degree.
In 2009, Stephen left Tasmania and headed to Alice Springs in search of employment. He managed to get work with Anglicare and ‘Bush Mob’ in the youth sector and after a while, he travelled to Uganda to reunite with his mother.
On his return to Australia, he continued working with ‘Bush Mob’ before getting a job with CatholicCare in 2012 where he still works today. The job he holds today is the Lead Practitioner NDIS Transition and Development.
Stephen is based at Marla and is responsible for providing NDIS services to seven remote communities in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara [APY] Lands. The communities are: Amata, Ernabella / Pukatja, Fregon, Mimili, Indulkana, Kaltjiti, Kalka / Pipalyatjara. He says he sometimes travels up to 3000 km in a week.
Stephen has worked with CatholicCare for nine years, the first three being with the CDP program at Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) and the last six in the APY lands. He enjoys his work and gets job satisfaction in working with Aboriginal people. Stephen is respected for the way he does his work.
Stephen is a man of many talents. He sang in a African choir, plays African drums and is also a talented soccer and basketball player.