I grew up as a child in a refugee camp. In the camp you are not just a child refugee, but a child to the world. Growing up, many people were caring for me — people I didn’t know. They came in the form of donations, in the form of treatment, in the form of psychotherapy.
There are many issues to deal with mentally, economically, and socially. It can be hard to tell someone you don’t know, how best to help, but it makes the job much harder when you can’t communicate what you need.
Refugees must be able to advocate for themselves, to share their needs, be open to volunteers and organizations, and they should know that the world has not forgotten them.
Why I Still Fight for Refugees
Many people want to leave the world a better place than the one we entered. I grew up in a very violent environment. In fact, I grew up with nothing. Today people call me a “Lost Boy” from Sudan — I don’t want to see another child go through what I went through.
It’s difficult for me to see photos of Syrian children, and children from all over the world, living through these humanitarian crises. Who becomes the victim here? The child. The mother. The elderly.
So how do we end this crisis? We have to work together. We are all human and because of that, and because of the the love we have for ourselves, we should exemplify our love towards others. We need to love our neighbors. No matter where we live in the world, we love each other, we are all neighbors.
What Gives Me Hope
Today I am a global advocate for a campaign called Nothing But Nets to help prevent the spread of malaria in refugee camps. They picked a global fight; and it’s not their fight, it’s everybody’s fight. I have hope when I think about the initiatives, organizations, and people that wake up everyday and are focused on how to help refugees. All these people are taking initiative and going out there to do things for others. That’s the definition of community. That’s something we share. Something that gives me hope.
What I’d wish for every child is safety and love. Every child wants to feel loved, safe, cared for. No matter the economic situation, we should always practice love. These children should know that the world can be peaceful. They should grow up knowing that someone cares about you, loves them, that there still is hope. People care for them, and they are doing it out of love.
Watch: Reverend Thon Moses Chol spoke at the Nothing But Nets Summit. See a clip from his video interview.
Editor’s Note: This story was edited and condensed from an interview with Reverend Thon Moses Chol at the Nothing But Nets Champion Summit. Chol had to flee his home in South Sudan as a child because of violence. Growing up, he saw firsthand the devastating toll that malaria takes on refugees. It’s a leading cause of death for refugees in Africa. Last year, Nothing But Nets launched The Million Nets Pledge to provide bed nets to protect refugees and their families across sub-Saharan Africa from malaria.
This story is part of the 4th annual Global Moms Relay, our campaign to raise money and awareness of the issues that impact families around the world. The 2016 campaign has ended, but you can continue to take action by joining our community.
You share, they give: Each time you ‘like’ or share this post via the social media icons on this post, or comment below, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action) up to $500,000 to Shot@Life, Girl Up, Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund, U.S. Fund for UNICEF and Nothing But Nets.
The Global Moms Relay was created by the United Nations Foundation and Johnson & Johnson with support from BabyCenter, Global Citizen, Fatherly and Charity Miles, to help improve the lives of families around the globe. Share this post with the hashtags #GlobalMom and #JNJ, and visit GlobalMomsRelay.org to learn more.
You can also use the Donate A Photo* app and Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 when you upload a photo for Girl Up, U.S. Fund for UNICEF or Nothing But Nets, up to $150,000. You can help make a difference in seconds with the click of your mouse or snap of your smart phone.
* via the Donate A Photo app for iOS and Android. Johnson & Johnson has curated a list of trusted causes, and you can donate a photo to one cause, once a day. Each cause will appear in the app until it reaches its goal, or the donation period ends. If the goal isn’t reached, the cause will still get a minimum donation.