Adbo arrived in Palabek in the spring of 2018 after fleeing his village in South Sudan.
“I was very tired and hungry. I’d walked for three days to get to the border. And then I was shown to a bus, which brought me here. I hadn’t eaten for days. I was very scared when I arrived. I didn’t know anyone and was afraid that people would hurt me.”
Adbo’s story is both incredible and routinely common in Palabek. Aged 14 he came home from school one day to find his village had been attacked by militia. His house had been burnt to the ground, and his father had been hacked to death. Tragically, his mother had died of an illness a few years earlier. This left him and his 5 year-old brother.
“Everyone was panicking and running. My brother and I were separated. I went back to look for him but couldn’t find him. I haven’t seen him since, I don’t know if he is still alive.”
Once in Palabek Adbo was given a blanket, some pans and a food parcel and sent to the child-headed household section of the camp, just on the periphery of Canaan Primary School. With the help of some of the other children, he built his own small house of clay and enrolled with the school.
“I went to the school straight away. I want to succeed when I grow up, and for this I have to get an education. I enjoy school, I like to learn.”
Like so many in the refugee camp, when Adbo finishes school he wants a job where he can help others. More than anything, he would love to be a teacher, but his is an uncertain future.
“If I pass my exams I want to go to secondary school, but I don’t think I will have the money. And I have to find my brother. I don’t want to go back to South Sudan, but I must. He is the only family I have left.”