The country of Sudan is thousands of miles away, but many here in our area are doing what they can to help protect those from the civil war and genocide in the country, which has killed millions and left thousands orphaned.
Victor Deng’s life story is like thousands of others who once called the country of Sudan home.
He will forever be known as a lost boy of Sudan, which is where his story begins.
Victor became an orphan after his village near Darfur was destroyed back in 1987 by government troops, killing millions of Sudanese people.
Now as a man, he can tell his tale. “We heard some gun shots and screams and saw smoke all over the village,” Victor said.
He is just one of more than 25,000 orphan boys who were driven from their villages during civil war, which continues to this day.
“The same thing is still happening right now in Sudan, it hasn’t improved yet. Thousands of people, thousands of orphans have no people supporting them, they are suffering right now,” Victor explained.
For years, he traveled from one refugee camp to the another without ever knowing where his family was.
It wasn’t until rescue organizations intervened, that Victor was brought to the US in 2001.
“I have been through a difficult life, all my life. Since I came to this country, I feel like I’m better off right now.”
Stories like this have made an impact on people like Kimberly and Milton Smith who have dedicated their lives to helping orphans. They formed Make Way Partners, an organization dedicated to orphan care and the prevention of human trafficking.
“We are a very small organization with an annual budget of about two million dollars and we are the only ones doing orphan care or the prevention of human trafficking in the entire country of about 40 million people,” Kimberly Smith said.
More than 500 orphans are under the care of the Smiths as dozens of volunteers help oversee three Sudanese orphanages for refugees.
They do it with the help of donations from right here in Wilmington.
“It takes a lot of money to sustain life. The food has to be brought in nearly two thousand miles away from Nairobi, Kenya over hostile terrain, and the people here in Wilmington provide a large amount of that support,” Smith said.
Support of those, much like Victor, who where once lost but now have been found.
To find out how you can help Make Way Partners, you can log on to the organization’s website, MakeWayPartners.org.