This is the testimony of Keneth Mboli, a 16 year old south Sudanese refugee living in a camp in Obo, in the Central African Republic. He agreed to tell us his story as a boy separated from his family. His experience is similar to that of hundreds of other unaccompanied children caused by mass displacement.
I remember the day my father told my mother that it was necessary to leave South Sudan. We departed the next day and when we left South Sudan for the Central African Republic, among the chaos of fleeing people, I was separated from my parents and lost them. I had not received any news from my family for 5 months and I lived under the responsibility of the Chairman of the Committee of south Sudanese refugees in Obo. Life inside the camp was difficult, two months had passed and no one came to distribute food.
One day I saw two COOPI operators while doing a check of unaccompanied children and children separated from their parents. After taking my personal information, I was given into care to a foster family and supplied with sanitation kits. Later, at the end of each month, I received from COOPI a food ration that allowed me to survive even far away from my parents. The coordinators of COOPI researched among families who reported having lost their children during the move and this helped to identify and find my parents. They also facilitated the inclusion of my family in the refugee camp where I stayed to Obo.
Once the whole family was reunited, I started to feel better, I was calm and positive towards my future. In order to make me live a normal lifestyle, COOPI's coordinators have made me participate in recreational and sports activities organized for the children in the camp. Now I participate regularly and I feel happy. Thanks to the activities organized by COOPI, I was able to reconnect with my family, my friends and my neighbours. I think I've really managed to recover a normal condition of life. "