Salisbury High sophomore helps raise funds for South Sudan

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 12, 2012

Erin and Lauren Roy
Salisbury High School
SALISBURY — Nathaniel Nyok walked from Sudan to Ethiopia in 1988 because his country, Sudan, was in the midst of a 23-year civil war.
A government army attacked his village and he was separated from his family at the age of 8 years old. His trek, which measured nearly 800 miles, lasted for about three months and was characterized by hunger, fatigue and homesickness.
He witnessed young boys like himself being eaten by lions as they sat out in the sun for a moment’s rest. Nathaniel survived off of occasional wild leaves and fruits, but went some days without food.
One would hope that such a harrowing tale is unique, but in fact Nathaniel began his pilgrimage with 30,000 other boys, who were given the title the Lost Boys of Sudan.
These boys fled their country during a time of civil war that began in 1983 and lasted until 2005. Nathaniel feels that the war could have been avoided if the people were educated. Today, children in South Sudan are eager to learn, but the new country, which celebrated independence in July 2011, lacks resources to establish schools in the nation.
To help the desperate situation in South Sudan, Emma Labovitz, a sophomore at Salisbury High School, recently held a benefit pasta dinner at St. John’s Lutheran Church.
She first became aware of the atrocities in South Sudan by reading the book “What is the What” by Dave Eggers. It describes the grueling, excruciating voyage of the Lost Boys.
After reading the novel, Emma felt she needed to take action. She collaborated with Mothering Across Continents and Sudan Rowan, local nonprofits responsible for the “Raising South Sudan” school building project, to raise awareness of the abhorrent conditions in South Sudan. With generous support from donors and a dedicated crew of volunteers, Emma raised more than $3,000. The money raised will go toward building a school in South Sudan.
The story of the Lost Boys will not be forgotten. There is hope of an improved future for South Sudan because of people like Emma and all of those who were involved in the pasta dinner.
To learn more about the Raising South Sudan project, and ways to get involved, visit
Erin and Lauren Roy are sophomores at Salisbury High.