Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
June 11, 2001
Sudanese (Kakuma) Youth
Between November 2000 and September 2001, approximately 3,800 Sudanese children and young adults will be resettled in the U.S. These refugees are from the Kakuma Refugee Camp and are predominantly boys and young men. During the civil war in Southern Sudan, which began in the late 1980s, thousands of children were separated from their parents and fled on foot to Ethiopia -- walking more than 1,000 kilometers on the four-month journey. Between 1991 and 1992, this group was forcibly returned to Sudan. They then fled on foot to northern Kenya where they were brought to Kakuma Refugee Camp. Despite years of family tracing efforts by the humanitarian organizations, many of the children have little hope that they will ever see their parents again. Seven thousand have grown up in a system of group care supervised by tribal elders or in informal foster care established in the refugee camp. With war in Sudan continuing, return to a homeland for these children and young adults could mean forced military conscription and/or other danger to their lives.
In 1999, the UNHCR working in collaboration with the Department of State, referred about 3,800 of these young adults and children to the U.S. for refugee resettlement. In 2000, the U.S. began formally processing the group for movement to and placement in the U.S. Arrivals will continue into September 2001.
About 500 children, mostly boys and a small number of girls, have already entered the U.S. These children have been placed in refugee foster care programs in 10 states through the United States Catholic Conference (USCC) or Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Servicesí Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
The young adults will be resettled in 28 states by 10 resettlement agencies that work with the U.S. Government. The resettlement agencies provide refugees with basic necessities and assist them in connecting to social services, high school, and other education/training programs and job services for up to 90 days after arrival in the U.S. In addition, a number of social service programs funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement are available to refugees for longer periods.
For more information on Sudanese Refugees, see the fact sheet on "Refugees from Sudan" on the Cultural Orientation Website: www.culturalorientation.net
For more information on the United States Refugee Program Resettlement Agencies, see the fact sheet on "U.S. Refugee Admissions And Resettlement Program Participants in Department Of State (PRM) Reception And Placement Program."