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Our Work in Action.

What We Do

Our History 

Demography and Geography:

The Dinka is the largest single national group in South Sudan. Numbering about 2.5 to 3 million and constituting of more than 25 aggregates of different Dinka sections. Dinka are found in Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile and Southern Kordofan regions of South Sudan. Each Dinka section has a separate political entity with established rights to a well-defined territory.  The Hol people lives in the Duk Padiet area of Jonglei State. They are divided into four major sections: Angaach, Duoor, Nyieel, and Pathel. 

Historical Perspective

The Dinka's religions, beliefs and lifestyle have led to conflict with the Arab Muslim colonial government in Khartoum.  The Sudan People's Liberation Army, led by late Dr. John Garang De Mabior, a Dinka, took arms against the government in 1983. During the subsequent 21-year civil war,  many thousands of Dinka, along with fellow non-Dinka southerners, were massacred by government forces.  Sizable groups of Dinka refugees may be found in distant lands, including Jacksonville, Florida and Clarkston,  a working-class suburb of Atlanta, Georgia and in the Midwest such as Omaha, NE; Des Moines, IA; Sioux Falls, SD;  Chicago, IL; Grand Rapids, MI and Kansa,s MO, as well as Edmonton, Canada and Australia.

Devastation and Displacement: 

The Impact of Civil War.

Two back-to-back civil wars ravaged the Dinka Hol community and Southern Sudan as a whole. The second, a 21-year conflict, caused immense suffering through displacement, collapse of social and economic infrastructure, and the spread of preventable diseases. Poverty, illiteracy, and insecurity became widespread, leading to an unbearable death rate. Millions of lives were lost, and millions more were forced into exile or internal displacement.

Photo: UNHCR

Lost Boys of Sudan trekking across the desert bare feet between East African countries of Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya in late 1980's and early 1990's. 

The Lost Boys and Girls:

A Generation Uprooted.

In 1987, civil war forced an estimated 20,000 young boys from their homes and families in southern Sudan. Most were just six or seven years old, fleeing to Ethiopia to escape death or conscription into the northern army. Their harrowing journey of over a thousand miles resulted in the tragic loss of half their number before reaching a Kenyan refugee camp. These survivors became known as the Lost Boys of Sudan. In 2001, nearly 4,000 Lost Boys sought refuge in the United States, seeking peace, freedom, and educational opportunities. Members of the Hol tribe within this group have united to support both the Hol community in South Sudan and their fellow tribe members in the U.S.

Stories of Resilience:

Triumph Over Adversity.

Humanitarian organizations, like the Swedish Save the Children (Rädda Barnen), played a crucial role in assisting refugees and collecting data on the impact of conflict on children's rights. Despite peace agreements and aid efforts, violence continued to plague the region, highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by Hol and South Sudan.

Despite the immense hardships, individuals like Thon Chuol Deng, one of the Lost Boys, have overcome adversity. He moved to the United States, earned degrees in social work, and now works as an Education Resource Specialist, contributing to youth empowerment. Such stories of resilience inspire hope for a brighter future for the Hol community.

Photo: Radda Barnen, Pignudo, Ethiopia, June1989, 

As one of the lead aid agencies with UNHCR, Radda Barnen, a Swedish Save the Children aid agency, was in Pugnido Refugee Camp when the boys start arriving from Sudan. They were on a project of collecting data to inform the policy for children rights pertinent to the 1959 United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Also, to appeal for support from donor countries like United States.

Photo: Personal file. Washington, DC, USA, 2020 

After surviving insurmountable hardships, Thon Chuol Deng, also shown on the left, became one of the success stories these young boys have ever endured. He moved to the United States in 2000 and earned his bachelor's degree and Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW). He currently works as an Education Resource Specialist in the Office of Youth Empowerment within the Government of the District of Columbia. 

How We Use Funds:








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