- 29 October 2013
- by Katie Doehrmann
When you hear the term “Lost Boys” you normally think of the cute little boys dressed in furs from the Disney Classic, Peter Pan. However, this term takes a much darker tone when brought to light that the actual people called, “lost boys” are those of orphans, people with no food, and people with no homes.
Manyang Reath was one of these 20,000 lost boys. His father passed away and Manyang was separated from his mother at the age of four years old. He moved from refugee camp to refugee camp for 13 whole years. He had lost everything, hence the nickname, and was completely on his own. He and many others like him had all been separated from their families, many due to the war, but Manyang was given a chance. He was given a chance to come to America.
“I didn’t know about America. It seemed very far away. I didn’t know anyone there that could be related to me or be my family.” Manyang had many hesitations about coming to America. His biggest questions were, “How is this going to change my life. How is someone going to help me?” His concerns only deepened when a friend talked to him about Martin Luther King Jr. His friend told him that they [Americans] didn’t like King. “I was like if they don’t like Martin Luther King who was born there, how am I supposed to go there and expect them to like me?”
Even with all of these concerns, Manyang was eventually convinced to take a chance and come to America. Learning the new language and culture was hard for him but his perseverance paid off. He is now a student (24) at University of Richmond and is studying Free Law. But that is not the most impressive thing about Manyang.
Manyang has used his experiences to do something spectacular. He is the founder of the amazing organization Humanity Helping Sudan Project. “It is giving them their human rights. We give them land, chickens, education. They don’t have those things and we try to provide that to them.” They have helped over 40,000 Sudanese refugees so far, but their goal is to help all 250,000 refugees.
You can help them too. You can do multiple things like helping them campaign, donating money, buying things like chickens or fishing nets, or “Just like our Facebook page.” Join the people already helping make a difference. One group that Manyang was specifically touched by was a 6th grade class in Wilmette, Illinois who had a lemonade sale in their cafeteria to raise money for Humanity Helping Sudan Refugees. They were able to raise over $425. You could be a story like this that inspires people like the inspirational Manyan.
If you want to learn more about Manyang and/or his organization visit their website or Facebook page. You could take a lesson from Manyang’s book and use your experiences to make a difference. He is truly an inspiration to us all and we are sure to see more of him in the future.