Ellen Ratner


Ellen is the White House Correspondent and Bureau Chief for Talk Media News, covers the White House and provides exclusive reports to over 400 national and regional talk radio stations from the halls of Congress and government agencies. She is also a credentialed reporter at the Talk Radio News Service bureau at the United Nations in New York. Ms. Ratner can be seen regularly on Fox News’ “The Strategy Room”.


Darrin Peterson


For more than 15 years, Darrin Peterson has worked in the natural products industry as a leading sales agent, retail store manager, and co-owner of a small manufacturing firm. He has consulted for some of the largest companies in the channel and currently serves as Chairman/President of LifeSeasons.  Darrin serves as VP of Treasury for GEMS.

He shares an experience from his first trip to South Sudan.“Many of the mothers in the NBG are faced with decisions none of us would even consider. Without the basic necessities of food, water and medical assistance, a mother will have to decide, ‘Which child do I choose to let live?’ Take a moment to imagine this. I shared this with my wife over Skype, who is now expecting our 10th child. At that moment, we sat in silence and cried. At times, it is overwhelming, and you can easily slip into a feeling of hopelessness, but when you consider the ‘one,’ you are again filled with the passion a young, developing country needs. With an under-five infant mortality rate, one of the highest in the world, this country seeks help and the ability to live once again a life of passion.”


Sharon Edwards


Sharon has worked with “Goats for the Old Goat” and Founder Ellen Ratner almost since the inception of the organization. In 2013, she was appointed Executive Director and the 501(c)3 non-profit was renamed GEMS Development Foundation in 2014, emphasizing the Goats project, Education, Medicine, and Sustainability. With this expansion of purpose, GEMS Development Foundation offers assistance in a variety of targeted projects for the people of South Sudan.

Ms. Edwards has over 25 years of experience in the public and private sectors, supporting U.S. Foreign Policy, International Trade, Democracy Building and Elections, Political Affairs, Public Relations, and Global Business Development. During her nine years with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Ms. Edwards’ responsibilities included coordination of Board Meetings, special events, and serving as an international election observer in Latin America and Eastern Europe. She was a founding member of IFES Women’s Democracy Task Force and a delegate to Vital Voices in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Ms. Edwards also served as a political appointee in four administrations, three where she reported directly to the Secretary of Energy and Secretary of the Interior. Her fourth assignment was aide to the U.S. Ambassador in the Dominican Republic. She received several Meritorious Awards during her tenure; and previously had been named in Outstanding Young Women of America.


Bianca McDown Reber


Bianca has worked with Marketing and Events for the past five years. From planning huge corporate conferences to running charitable events, it is her passion. She loves people, and she loves the challenge of connecting with anyone in the world! She currently Serves as Marketing and Events coordinator for GEMS.


Charlotte Haynes


Charlotte serves as the Educator Director for GEMS Development Foundation, coordinating the teacher training, school support, and teacher scholarship programs. Along with several colleagues from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City, she has lead three teacher training institutes with educators from five different primary and secondary schools in the Wanyjok area of South Sudan. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Social Studies Education at Teachers College, Columbia University with a focus on the teaching of controversial and difficult histories of violence and genocide in post-conflict contexts. She also received a Master of Education from Teachers College in international education development, with a emphasis on peace and human rights Education. Prior to that, she received a Masters of Arts in History/Social Studies Education from Stanford University. She worked for seven years as a high school history and literacy teacher in California. She currently resides in Guatemala as part of her doctoral work, and is committed to developing long-term sustainable support for educators in South Sudan.

Tong Deng

Tong Deng

Dr. Achek

Dr. Mayen Machut Achiek

Achier Adup Mol

Achier Adup Mou

Dr. Atong

Dr. Atong Ayuel Longar