The lost boy from Kenya
Posted by josefine
Feb 13 19

In December 2018, when most families were preparing to celebrate Christmas, John was thinking about his way out of a tough situation. Separated from his mother and father, he was living with distant family members. However, being subject to abuse by his relatives, his living situation had gotten unbearable and John wished for nothing but … Continue reading The lost boy from Kenya

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John’s picture, which was sent to his parents

In December 2018, when most families were preparing to celebrate Christmas, John was thinking about his way out of a tough situation. Separated from his mother and father, he was living with distant family members. However, being subject to abuse by his relatives, his living situation had gotten unbearable and John wished for nothing but a safe place to live.

John met a truck driver who was willing to help him get as far away from the abusive family members as possible. Hidden inside the truck, John ended up crossing the border to Tanzania. Fearing his relatives could come after him and still find him, John decided to go further. A bus took him to Kigoma, from where he eventually crossed the Tanganyika Lake and ended up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Upon arrival in the DRC, John was happy to start a new life – but longed for contact with his mother, from whom he’d been separated. During a community meeting in John’s new village, one of the members of REFUNITE’s Community Leader Network was approached by a family who’d heard John’s story and knew he was looking to reconnect with his mother back in Kenya.

REFUNITE’s Community Leader Network is a network of more than 4000 tribal community leaders spread across 100 refugee communities worldwide that REFUNITE works with to communicate with and mobilize last-mile populations. Using online and offline channels and the power of this community-based peer to peer network, REFUNITE is able to reach more than 2.4 million people with information.

Determined to help John through REFUNITE’s Community Leader Network, the local community leader got in touch with REFUNITE’s central call center team who was able to identify contact details of John’s mother in Kenya, using the reach of the Kenyan tribal leaders who are part of REFUNITE’s network. Confirming identities of son and mother using pictures and other details, REFUNITE was able to reconnect John with his mother again.

“I couldn’t sleep at night because my only son was missing. I was crying an ocean of tears every night until REFUNITE called me and I spoke to my son”, John’s mother told REFUNITE.

John’s mother is now working with the local community leader in DRC to get John back to Kenya. The plan is to get John on a scholarship so he can live with her again.

 

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