One Refugee’s Journey

Lino June Thought Leader

My name is Lino Diadi Momo. I moved to the United States in 2003 at the age of 24 as a Lost Boy refugee from Sudan. The outbreak of civil war in Sudan in 1983 led to the heavy recruitment of child soldiers by the two opposing sides as well as the upheaval of daily life. This forced 20,000 young boys to flee their homes in South Sudan. Most of the boys fled through war zones to surrounding countries like Ethiopia. I wound up in Kenya at the Kakuma Refugee Camp and stayed there for many years.

When I first came to the United States, I was resettled in Houston, Texas. But my long-time friend from Kakuma Refugee camp had been resettled in Atlanta two years before me. They had established great connections in the city and encouraged me to join them in Georgia. My friend helped me get my first job at the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center in their showroom.

I was passionate about helping others and volunteered on numerous mission trips to Kenya. I ended up working in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Kenya for two years. My main project during that time was implementing water filtration systems. I went on to work in an IDP camp in South Sudan with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and an affiliated local NGO. While there, I helped them implement a Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) project for the IDP camp.

I lived in refugee camps for 15 years and I owe so much to the people who helped me during that time. That’s why the work I do at New American Pathways as a Case Manager is so important to me. I’m using the opportunity to help other refugees and immigrants adapt and thrive in their new environment.