I was born in a small village called Kudupi, in the Central Equatoria Region of South Sudan and was born at a time of hopelessness during Sudan’s long running civil war. I lost both my parents to the conflict when I was just two years old so I have spent my entire life in exile with my siblings, living as a refugee in northern Uganda. I eventually returned home to South Sudan in 2006 after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. For over two decades, I lived a refugee life, enduring poor living conditions and with no access to safe water or food. Whilst in the refugee camp, there were constant attacks on the poor refugees who were often abducted and killed; women and girls were raped and brutally murdered by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel leader, Joseph Kony. It was a dreadful life, escaping one violence and then moving on to another brutal violence.
I was inspired to become a humanitarian worker at 14 years of age when the only borehole in our refugee camp broke – we spent several weeks without access to safe water and people resorted to using contaminated water from open sources for drinking. I remember, it was not until a charity organisation fixed the borehole that we could begin to ‘live’ our lives again.
Thinking back to when I was a teenager, I didn’t know who else could have helped us at that time as we were so vulnerable. It was then that I became inspired to become a humanitarian because I wanted to give the same help back and better to others.
I managed to study through a refugee scholarship programme offered through one of the charity organisations. My dream came true and after my studies, I returned to South Sudan and became a humanitarian worker with the same agency who inspired me when I was a teenager, before joining Trócaire and CAFOD in 2015.
Deep in my heart, being a humanitarian worker is much more than reaching the needy – it’s about seeing myself first in the situation and then being able to give it all back to others. The work I do with Trócaire and CAFOD reminds me of my own experience as a refugee and how humanitarian work changed my life too. I can see the impact of the work we do and how I can help others. It’s through this that I commit myself to give my best to help those who are suffering because from experience, I know what it means to be vulnerable.