“The Lost Boys of Sudan” are a group of young refugees, ages 7 to 17, and were forced to work together to escape a civil war and genocide. Some 23,000 Sudanese girls and boys were driven from their southern Sudan villages since the mid 1980’s. Sudan’s History of genocide and civil war was fueled by regional, ethnical and religious strain.
The second civil war began in 1983 between the Peoples Liberation Army and its allies and the main rebel army, since the war began, it has left over 4 million Sudanese homeless and helpless. Armed forces from both sides have targeted the civilian population, leaving an estimated 1.9 million people dead due to war.
These innocent children experienced shell shock and intense horrors while fleeing the violence and bloodshed of Sudan’s internal conflict. They were forced to walk hundreds of miles in search for peace and shelter, and then spent over 9 years in a Kenyan refugee camp.
Most of the “Lost Boys” are from Dinka and Nuer, where hundreds of villages have been pillaged, people raped and burned. The destruction and anguish caused by the civil war makes it considered one of the century’s most brutal wars. Citizens get attacked, over and over, resulting in a widespread famine. In fact, according to the US State Department, the widespread anarchy has killed more than 2 million people and left 4 million displaced.
Many of the children died of starvation, dehydration, or wild animal attacks. Later on, the survivors would go on to tell that they witnessed vultures feed on the bodies of their dead friends, but relief came for them when Red Cross helicopters delivered food and water. However, it was very difficult for the humanitarian groups to provide in such hostile territory.
As the armed forces trudged through Southern Sudan, killing the adults and enslaving the women, the “Lost Boys of Sudan” grouped and headed towards Ethiopia, where they hoped to find peace and their families. Against all odds, thousands survived, finding refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. Some even were reunited with their families. At the camps, the boys formed their own “family” groups, the older children acting as the guardians for the younger children. The relief workers named the children the “Lost Boys” after Disney’s Peter Pan’s ‘Lost Boys’.
Despite all the adversity many of them went on to live very happy and successful lives and have used their success to help South Sudan in it’s rebuilding. Lear more about the Lost Boys of Sudan’s helping South Sudan as South Sudan Expats.