"I left my home country, Sudan (now South Sudan) when I was about 15 years old. I left mainly because I was searching for a safer environment for me to study without the daily fear of getting bombed or weighed down by responsibilities a child shouldn’t bear. When I left, I had no idea that the place I was headed to would be a refugee camp and that I’d be referred to as a refugee instead of my name or my nationality.
I had an instant disillusionment when I arrived at Kakuma refugee camp. Together with nine other young unaccompanied boys, we spent over three weeks without any ration card. During this period, we depended on the little ration from other refugees who were kind enough to share with us.
Another thing was the apparent insecurity in the refugee camp. A year after I came to Kakuma refugee camp, my closest classmate was shot at night by the local looters. I was highly traumatized by these experiences and felt like running back to my country though I knew it was also insecure. I eventually got to leave Kakuma refugee camp for Canada through a university scholarship program I hard-earned.
As much as most Canadians are well informed and welcoming people, a few still have insufficient knowledge about refugees. When I came here, I learnt how some people perceive refugees as vulnerable people that only get by through mercies not merits.
I miss my mother, siblings, relatives and my childhood friends. I can never trade them for any experiences that my travels have afforded me since I left home. I still consider South Sudan my home, although over the years I have moved on to appreciate the places I have been to and the people I have met along the way.
I believe the story of everyone who is or was once a refugee entails resilience and I bring this to every country I go to, including here in Canada. My life inspires so many people that I encounter. More so, I bring different insights and experiences that are invaluable to the community I'm in.
Currently, I am working on a solar-powered drip Irrigation System Project that is intended to help reduce food insecurity especially during the dry season by enabling communities to irrigate their farms. Once this pilot project takes off in Tonj, we will replicate it in other villages to help reduce hunger and malnutrition, alleviate poverty and resolve protracted inter-communal conflicts over limited resources and provide jobs to many jobless young people. I believe this will be my first step to give back to the positive transformation of South Sudan’s society which will ultimately contribute to a safer world.
Young men’s lives are wasted seated in ram shackled tin-roofed houses waiting for opportunities to grow intellectually and professionally which never come. Whenever I looked at this wasted human resource, my young heart would always skip in dismay and it still does."