In 1987 civil war broke out again in Sudan; villages were eviscerated, families were torn apart, and a little boy named John Dau ended up walking for three months until he found Ethiopia. Violence found Ethiopia as well and John Dau and a tribe of young children ended up walking again. Thousands of miles, thousands of children, mostly naked and barefoot, wandering across the dessert to Kenya. These children became known as "The Lost Boys of Sudan." Why the Lost Boys rather than Lost Children? The girls were mostly killed, or raped and enslaved.
The older children helped the younger children as much as they could, yet violence, wild animals, disease, exhaustion, and starvation took their toll. The Lost Boys began attracting the attention of the outside world as aid agencies and NGOs rallied to tell their story.
In 2001, John Dau was one of nearly 4,000 Lost Boys brought to the United States. He is now a student at Syracuse University and has started the John Dau Sudan Foundation. He shared his life in his book "God Grew Tired of Us" which was also available as a film by the same name. His goal now is to raise money to build health clinics in Sudan.
In a very different part of the world leading a very different life, my friend Janece Moment (profiled earlier this week in my post Goodies: No Ordinary Moment) was chasing the American Dream along with her husband and three year old daughter. By chasing the American Dream, I mean owning your own business, which for most Americans, also means no access to medical and/or dental insurance for yourself and your family. And like so many Americans, when a broken tooth grew into a medical emergency, she had only a limited amount of cash to get the necessary treatment; cash that valued less than the cost of diagnosis, much less the treatment.
Calling dentist after dentist after dentist, she finally found one who was willing to take a look at her without an upfront deposit. The tooth was badly infected and needed to be removed immediately, and the dentist was also willing to do that for the cash she had brought to pay for the diagnosis.
Inspired by this generosity, Janece was determined to pay it forward.
Access to health care is a critical issue in our country, children die every day for lack of appropriate medical care. But for all our issues, there are many countries in which Janece's situation could have proved fatal.
Then Janece watched "God Grew Tired of Us" and she knew what she needed to do. Janece has made a commitment to raise $2,500.00 for the John Dau Sudan Foundation, and she has donated her painting "Sun's Set" to the cause. The painting will go to the person who brings in the most donations.
Please consider making a donation to the John Dau Sudan Foundation.
More information about John Dau and the Lost Boys of Sudan
- firstgiving.com/help a lost boy Janece's Fundraiser
- National Geographic
- John Dau Sudan Foundation
- Lost Boys of Sudan