In Welfare

World Refugee Day: Moses misses his father

Nearly 10,000 refugee children have crossed from South Sudan into Uganda without their parents.

This World Refugee Day, June 20, meet Moses, one of these unaccompanied children who now must wear the shoes of a father for his sisters. Learn how this responsibility weighs on him now and how World Vision is helping to look after them.

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This past Father’s Day weekend, I was fortunate to spend the evening with my dad and watch my kids with their own father.

We’re a lucky bunch in my family. My sister and I grew up with a dad who challenged us and cheered us, told us we were smart and expected us to act like it, and continues to nurture a relationship with each of us. My kids have a dad who, from day one, considered each of them the most beautiful and brilliant thing in the world — and reminds them every day how loved they are.

Good dads aren’t necessarily a rarity, but they’re not a forgone conclusion either. Those who have them are fortunate.

Last month, I got to talk with 16-year-old Moses about his dad. Moses lived in southern South Sudan with his parents and two sisters, 14-year-old Medina and 10-year-old Victoria. He liked school and excelled in science. He liked hearing his dad’s stories and watching movies with him.

But a few months ago, the violence of his young country’s now three-year civil war found his community. “The conflict found me … when I was in school,” he remembers. “People started running from the school, but the school manager collected us together in a room and kept us there away from the crossfire so we would not be injured by the bullets. As soon as the bullets stopped, they released us. On my way, I found my father was coming to get me from the school.”

Together that evening, his parents made a decision: They would walk from their home and find safety in the refugee settlements across the border in Uganda, at least until the violence calmed. His father had done that during the 22-year civil war in Sudan before South Sudan gained independence in 2011. He was confident that this was the best way to keep his family safe.

They started their journey early the next morning.

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