The Lost Boys of Sudan
When civil war broke the country of Sudan, approximately 20,000 young boys were forced to flee their home villages. Jacob Atem and Lual Deng – co-founders of SSHCO – were among those boys.
Many were as young as six years old when their villages were burned and their families were killed by northern soldiers. After walking over 1,000 miles, only half of the boys survived. Most found temporary refuge in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya before finding permanent, stable homes in the United States and Australia.
During their journey, the Lost Boys faced environmental dangers that took many of their lives. Among these dangers were lions, which preyed on the boys as they traveled through forests. The boys had to rotate sleep to ensure they had enough warning to escape such deadly animals. Additionally, the boys had to cross crocodile-infested rivers, and many had to watch their brothers get taken in front of their eyes.
Currently, the Lost Boys are a group that exudes strength, compassion and community. They learned English, received higher education and fully integrated into American and Australian culture. Today, many dedicate their lives to helping their brothers and sisters who remain in South Sudan.