Reunited with his mother through the Community Leader Network, young Kenyan wants to become a REFUNITE leader
May 12 19

In December 2018, John was separated from his parents and 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 decided to get as far away from the abusive family members as possible and travel across borders, ending up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 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.

In March 2019, John started his travel back to Kenya. The Congolese leaders helped him to get a bus from Rutshuru to Kampala, Uganda, where another REFUNITE leader was waiting for him in order to support him to continue his travel to Kenya. John was touched and relieved when he met with our call center agent in Nairobi, who travelled with him to Mata Village, where his mother lives.

John finally got reunited with his mother, who was anxiously waiting for him. “Today, there are no words that can describe the joy I am feeling. I can have my son in my arms again thanks to REFUNITE”, John’s mother told REFUNITE’s agent. “I wish the REFUNITE leaders could come to Mata Village one day, so I could receive them and thank them for taking care of my son without asking for anything in return”, she added.

According to John’s tribal tradition, when a boy becomes a man, he gets a cow from his parents to start his own family. He got a calf from his mother and is now planning a new life next to his loved ones. “I also would like to become a REFUNITE leader in my village, like Roger and Marcellin, the people who helped me while I was in DRC. The way REFUNITE’s community leaders care about people they don’t even know has taught me things about life I never thought would be possible”, John said.


Hundreds of families are reconnected through our work every month, often after years of searching for their missing loved ones.
Any donation will help separated families reconnect.