The Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan: The National Network is a non-profit corporation that seeks to mobilize the lost boys and girls of Sudan and the Sudanese Diaspora living in the United States to advocate for international support of a new Sudan. The lost boys and girls refer to children who were orphaned or displaced during the second Sudanese civil war between the North and South that erupted in 1983. In 1987, as the civil war raged, over 30,000 young children were forced to leave their homes in southern Sudan after their villages had been attacked and their parents killed by northern forces. So began a mass exodus of children as young as five across Sudan’s desert and tropical landscape to refugee camps in Ethiopia and then to camps in Kenya following the fall of the Ethiopian government in 1991. Of the 30,000 children who began the trek, only 11,000 survived the journey to Kenya, where they remained in the camps. Since 2001, about 5,000 lost boys and girls have received refugee status from the United States government and they have been resettled in 40 states across the country.
Last week, the network sent a letter to President Obama’s Special Envoy to Sudan Major General Scott Gration thanking him for his decision to be on the ground in Abyei when the Abyei Arbitration Tribunal in The Hague handed down its ruling on the contested boundaries of this oil-rich region at the crossroads of Sudan’s North and South. The letter also commended the United States for renewing its efforts to support the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, but asked for further commitment from both the Obama administration and the United Nations to help ensure renewed commitment from the international community to help the Sudanese parties fully implement the CPA and protect civilians. It is clear from this heartfelt letter that members of this organization have experienced violence first hand and are working to prevent a return to another devastating cycle of conflict and renewed violence in their homeland of southern Sudan.