Known as the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan, refugees who’ve grown up abroad and are now skilled professionals. A new U.S. law is proposing that up to 500 of these former refugees be given financial support to return to South Sudan, to help rebuild the nation.
CCTV’s Daniel Ryntjes reports. Follow Daniel Ryntjes on Twitter @danielryntjes
US want skilled former refugees to return home to rebuild nationKnown as the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan, refugees who’ve grown up abroad and are now skilled professionals. A new U.S. law is proposing that up to 500 of these former refugees be given financial support to return to South Sudan, to help rebuild the nation. CCTV’s Daniel Ryntjes reports.
Apajok Deng works for a regional bank in Richmond, Virginia. It’s a calm and orderly life that belies the realities of a long, hard and painful journey, which started when she was five, hiding in the bushes in her home village.
“Gunfire, we could hear gunfire everywhere. And people screaming, children crying, you could see some children being dropped by their parents after they got shot. And what can you do? You cannot run to get that child. You’d get killed right away,” Deng said.
At 15, Apajok arrived in the United States. She was placed with foster parents and started school.
Now she’s raising her own family and has a successful career at the Xenith regional bank in Richmond.
But Apajok’s thoughts are with the 2.4 million people in South Sudan who don’t have a place to call home.
Many of this generation of “Lost Boys and Girls” have become accomplished professionals in the fields of business, medicine, education and even government.
While working for U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass, David Acuoth recently wrote a draft law that supports the desires of Lost Boys and Girls to return to their homeland.
At first, David was optimistic about the prospects for the new nation of South Sudan, but continued conflict there has taken a personal toll.
With both his mother and brother becoming victims, David’s adamant that the solution lies with putting ethnic divisions aside.
“We will be looking at people with agricultural skills, we’ll be looking at people with healthcare backgrounds, we’ll be looking at educators, we’ll be looking at civil society, we’ll be looking at security, people who can help train police officers. Not how to use their guns, but how police and community can intermingle,” Acuoth said.
The Lost Boys and Girls also want Congressional Republican and Democrats to put their divisions aside to approve the legislation.
The law would pay for up to 500 Lost Boys and Girls to travel to South Sudan and provide them with a stipend for living expenses.
The Lost Boys and Girls want the law passed in Congress soon so that when the dust settles on the civil conflict ripping their homeland apart, they will be ready to go and help put the pieces back together.