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London, U.K. — He may have finished 10th in the men’s 5000m at the London Summer Games Saturday night but former Sudan Lost Boy Lopez Lomong remains committed to helping children. Lomong, who led near the end of the race, is tentatively planning a trip early next year to Kenya and South Sudan to help children living in poverty.
The trip is part of a long-term partnership between 4South Sudan, Lomong’s non-profit, and Team World Vision, a program sponsored by international Christian humanitarian organization World Vision. Lomong’s group is hoping to raise $500,000 to provide impoverished people with access to clean water, health care, education and nutrition.
According to the latest estimates from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are more than 660,000 displaced South Sudanese as fighting rages with Sudan. Malaria and diarrhea run rampant in the overcrowded refugee camps. Nearly three children die of preventable illnesses in the camps every day.
At the age of six, Lopez was kidnapped from his Southern Sudan village and held captive as he was prepped to be a child soldier. Too small to undergo training, his fate would most likely have been starvation. But after three weeks, he managed to escape with the help of three other captives. After running three days and nights, they were captured by Kenyan troops and brought to a refugee camp where Lopez lived for 10 years.
He was sponsored by a U.S. family and brought to America, where he soon discovered he was the fastest kid in school. At track meets he then discovered he was the fastest in the state. Soon he would become one of the fastest in the nation. In 2008, Lomong qualified for the Beijing Olympics in the men’s 1500m. He was voted by his teammates as the flag bearer in the Opening Ceremonies.
World Vision’s child sponsorship programs establish sustainable, long-lasting programs in the world’s most impoverished regions. A $35/month commitment helps provide clean water, improve agricultural conditions and provides educational opportunities for children and their communities. World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicate to working with children, families and their communities worldwide by tacking the causes of poverty and injustice.