The Woodgrove Outlander

Sudanese Lost Boy Presentation

Photo provided by Maryam Khan

Photo provided by Maryam Khan

Written by Maryam Khan and Jordan Fiala

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Sudanese Lost Boy, Manyang Reath Kher, presented his life’s story while
also communicating his urge to improve the lives of all Sudanese citizens.

Kher was one of 20,000 young boys infamously known as the Lost Boys of Sudan. These boys suffered the consequences of the civil war raging in the Sudan and experienced homelessness, fear, disease, and death. At age four, Kher was separated from his mother and sister and lived alone in a refugee camp for thirteen years. His camp was on the border of Ethiopia and Sudan, and many of his earliest memories include death and violence from the on-going war.

“As a child I spent many Christmas holidays alone and lived in constant hunger,” said Kher.

After living as a Lost Boy amongst 27,000 other homeless children, Kher was eventually sent to America by a Catholic Church foundation at age 17. He was able to learn English and later attend the University of Richmond to study Political Science.  Kher received a scholarship to the university by excelling in his studies and in track and field.

Kher spoke at Woodgrove High School as a guest of  Mrs. Louise Spicer’s African Studies Class. “I was always determined to have one of the Lost Boys come and share his story,” she said.

Mrs. Spicer started researching the subject and found information about Kher and his story through the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She contacted him from there.  Mrs. Spicer met with Manyang before he came to Woodgrove.

“Manyang is my friend, not just a guest in the classroom.”

Kher’s presentation was held in the afternoon for Woodgrove students, then again that night as a community event. Senior Daniel Shelton attended the presentation and said, “It was super inspiring and uplifting to see how somebody who went through that could still be so joyful and cheerful. It helps me put my problems into perspective.”

Kher is the founder of the Humanity Helping Sudan Project, whose goal is to raise awareness for the conditions of Sudan, part of which includes Kher sharing his story at different schools. Kher wants to not only share his story, but the story of all of the Lost Boys. Kher’s foundation has become well known, and Kher was a finalist for the Do Something Now Awards, where he had the opportunity to meet Beyonce and Ben Affleck.

Kher also sells coffee specific to the region of Sudan, calling it 734 coffee. Each package of coffee depicts information about the refugee crisis and civil war in Sudan. The package is supposed to make people aware of the crisis in Sudan, depicting statistics and information.

Senior Elizabeth Aramayo was very moved by the presentation. She said, “This experience was enlightening and demonstrated to me how far in life one could go if one has great determination and optimism. I am glad that Woodgrove students were given a chance to learn about a ‘Lost Boy’ and to reflect upon his great bravery.”

For more information about Kher’s foundation or to purchase coffee, visit hhsproject.org, or text ‘Manyang’ to 38383.

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