[Nairobi, Kenya 27°C] Below is a selection of photos taken at Sud Academy, a primary/secondary school for Sudanese refugees in a poor neighbourhood of Nairobi, Kenya. The school has a student population of more than 200 students, some of whom were abducted during the civil war by northern militia and enslaved by them to tend the cattle stolen in the raid. Lino Madut Angok is ne of the abductees who was freed, as indicated in his letter (below) by an organization called Redemption(?). Although I recognize the benefit Lino has received by being freed from bondage, there is much debate (here, here and here) about the practice of redemption (buying the slave’s freedom) and its ability to end slavery in Sudan.
The first photo is of Lino Madut Angok, who used to be a student in Sud Academy but has since changed schools with the help of Kellee Jacobs and contacts she has in Canada. Profiles of Lino and four other students who have just left Sud Academy to finish their last year of high school at Riruta Central School can be found on Kellee Jacobs’ blog. Kellee has been actively working with Sud Academy during a volunteer stage there and has written about it on her blog.
Lino carries around the accompanying double-sided letter to inform people of his situation and his history to help get support wherever possible. He showed it to me while visiting him at his new school and allowed me to post it here. It is apparantly a common practice for these boys (men) to always have such a letter to use when needed.
The following portraits are of the student leaders from the Sud Academy whom I asked to point out the badges they wear that represent their leadership role at the school. Although there wasn’t enough time to speak with each of the following students individually about their personal stories that brought them here as refugees, these portraits provide a glimpse into their respective personalities, their shared histories and the perseverance that will carry them forward.