My Refugee Story

Sudan, North East Africa

"My name is Solomon Awan. I was born in Sudan before South Sudan became an independent State. After the independence, I fall under the new state of South Sudan.

I love South Sudan. Live was peaceful until the Sudan’s civil war began in the 80s.

Due to the civil war, I left Sudan in 1987 for refugee camp in Ethiopia then to Kenya. I lived in those two camps for the total of 13 years, 4 years in Ethiopia and 9 in Kenya.

It was after refugee camp in Kenya when I was given an opportunity to come to the United States in 2001.

Integration to the new culture here in the US was not easy, but it turns out well. I was able to make new friends that helped me navigate the system. Through the help of my new American friends, I was able to go to college and successfully graduate.

Now I am happily married and have a career I am proud of."

-Solomon Awan

Political Landscape

The Lost Boys of Sudan

Civil war in 1987 led to an estimated 20,000 young boys being separated from their families and villages in South Sudan, and having to flee to nearby Ethiopia for safe haven. Most of the boys, being no more than 6 or 7 years of age, fled death and forced induction into the Northern Sudanese army by walking more than 1,000 miles in the harsh elemental conditions in Sudan. Half of the boys died before reaching Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. where many still live today. In 2001 close to 4,000 boys were relocated to the United States to start new lives, but - 20 years later, many are still living in Kakuma, raising each other as brothers, still not knowing if the families they left behind are alive or searching for them.

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