Refugee Twice Over


Maker, age 12, escaped conflict in South Sudan and now lives in Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya.

Maker is one of 160,000 people currently living in Kakuma. He has escaped fighting in his homeland twice, once as a baby, and once as a 12-year-old.

“In South Sudan, you couldn’t live freely. There was no place to walk without being afraid something would happen. Everyone has enemies. Even if you’re very small, they’ll say you’ll grow up. They don’t care, they’ll kill you,” Maker says.

Although born in South Sudan, at the age of two his mother carried him to Kenya to flee ongoing fighting. When the his home country became independent, his family believed they would be safe and returned to South Sudan in 2011. But the stability was short-lived. Old enemies were unforgiving, a thirst for vengeance and a fight for power quickly escalated into bloodshed.

“So many people were shot when I was there, adults and children. I saw them coming with the guns. They came to our neighbors and then they were coming to our house. We ran,” Maker says.
Maker fled again, this time with his five siblings and his step-mother. Their father remained behind. It was the last time they saw or heard from him.

“It was in the evening when we left home. Our father told us that this place was not good anymore. He told us to go somewhere that we could be safe. It took us one week to leave. On the way, there were a lot of dangerous things. They (armed men) wanted to kill us. But we had good luck, we got to safety,” Maker remembers.

At the refugee camp, Maker attends Grade 8 at a primary school built by World Vision. He is among 4,800 refugee children getting their education at the school.

“In the future, I want to be an engineer,” he says.

Yet Maker longs to return to his country of birth, the place he feels a sense of belonging.

 Photo©2017 World Vision, Mark Nonkes

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