"Refugees leave because they have no choice. We must choose to help." - Excerpt from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's message for World Refugee Day
After escaping attacks on their villages in Southern Sudan, Africa, many of the “Lost Boys and Girls” walked 1,200 miles on a desert trek to safety; living in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia for the following 10 years. In 2000, 3,000 of these young people were granted political asylum in the United States. Many of these "Lost Boys and Girls" have been separated from their parents and families since being separated all those years ago. Funds raised through this program will go toward the reunion of these Philadelphia-area young people with their families living abroad.
GEM has been proud to work with many of the Lost Boys through our videoconference programs, school assemblies, and United Nations conferences.
Background on the Refugee Reunion Project:
Started by Harriton High School student Josh Millan as a response to One Book, One Philadelphia’s 2008 selection, Dave Egger’s WHAT IS THE WHAT, continued by the Drexel University Writing Program and Drexel University Alpha Kappa Psi, Chapter Eta Psi students, the Reunion Project has raised $15,000 to date and reunited three families. The project now continues with the help of Stephanie Lucas, student in Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business.
The Reunion Project mission is: “To help rebuild Sudan by fighting the residual effects of Genocide; and to empower the people through the values of community and self-sufficiency.” We focus on repairing the devastation that destroyed lives and communities in Southern Sudan through various funds and projects.
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Watch the video below to see footage of our first Reunion Project recipient reuniting with his mother in Australia after their twenty-year separation.
Actual footage from "Lost Boy" reunion with his mother in Australia, July 2009, after being separated for twenty years when their village was attacked and Michael escaped at the age of 5. He then walked with thousands of others to refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya where he lived for ten years before being selected for U.S. immigration.