2000s >> Patrick Buni >> Sudan

Patrick Buni. Photo: © UNHCR/Paulo Nunes Dos Santos My name is Patrick Buni. I was born in 1992 in a village called Loa, Nimule in Southern Sudan.

The Government forces came to re-capture the area controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). There were a lot of clashes between the Government forces and the rebels and a lot of people died. I am told my mother got killed as a result of the rebels shooting randomly at civilians.

When the rebels entered the Tori district we had to scatter to Uganda without looking back, without being able to take anything with us. My uncle has cared for me since. While in Uganda our family had to always run away from rebel attacks. Some people were not lucky, they got shot by the rebels and they died.

“While in Uganda our family had to always run away from rebel attacks. Some people were not lucky, they got shot by the rebels and they died.”

We stayed in the refugee camp, but the rebels attacked the schools and sometimes school would be closed for a month. Some school children were kidnapped by the rebels and forced to be child soldiers.

When the situation became worse, my uncle decided to transfer us in 2002 from Maaji settlement camp to Adjumani town. We stayed there for a while, but my other young uncle got killed in 2004. We found his body at the roadside three days after he had disappeared. This was a very traumatic situation for us. My uncle then applied to UNHCR for us to be moved to a safer place. When I arrived in Ireland in 2008, everything was different: the weather, language, foods, system of shopping, education. We were sent to County Mayo where we attended six weeks orientation to learn about Ireland’s culture.

"I am happy being in school here and thinking about my future. I will become educated, work and I plan to help people here and back in Africa."

Then they brought us to Kilkenny and school was organised for us. First I feared talking to people here because my English was not good. But when we attended the youth centre my English language improved. Quickly I began expressing myself in our groups and that made my life change completely. In school my teacher encouraged me to do everything.

I was nominated to the Kilkenny Comhairle na nÓg last year and I am enjoying it. We try to speak on behalf of other young people in Kilkenny about things that affect them. We have meetings in the County Council and we have pizza afterwards. We talk about transport, sport, education and mental health for young people.

I am happy being in school here and thinking about my future, I believe that I have a great opportunity here. I will become educated, work and I plan to help people here and back in Africa.

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