The Lost Boys were more than 30,000 Sudanese children who fled a violent Civil War in the late 1980s. Arab militias from the north attacked villages, killing the men and women and setting their homes on fire.
Boys between 5 and 15 years were often tending cattle in camps outside the village. When they saw the fires, they began running, joined by other children from other villages.
The boys (and some girls) walked more than 1,000 miles over three months without any support from adults. Many of the ‘Lost Boys of Sudan’ died from hunger, thirst, eating poisonous plants, and attacks from lions and soldiers shooting at them. Many drowned crossing the Gilo River into Ethiopia. The survivors sheltered in a refugee camp.
After a year, violence in Ethiopia caused them to flee back across the Gilo River to Sudan. The rainy season had swollen the river and 2,000 drowned or were killed by crocodiles, hippos, and soldiers.
They walked south to the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya, which took an entire year. By then, The United Nations knew of the Lost Boys and dropped food to them. Fewer than half of the original children – 13,000 survived to reach Kakuma.
In 2001, more than 3,600 of the Lost Boys were allowed to come to the United States. Seeds of South Sudan founder Arok Garang was one of these Lost Boys.
After graduating from the University of Colorado, Arok felt called by God to rescue more South Sudanese refugee orphans from Kakuma.
Learn how Seeds of South Sudan has rescued more than 100 orphans and educated them in Kenya here.