At age three, Manyang Reath Kher became a refugee of the Sudanese Civil War and for 13 years lived in refugee camps. At the age of 17, Kher was chosen as one of the lucky ones able to come to the United States and “create a life,” he said.

Because of this opportunity, Kher is now a rising junior at the University of Richmond, and he wants to open the same doors for others.

“Others weren’t able to come over to the United States and I just felt that I needed to help them,” Kher said.

According to the Humanity Helping Sudan Project website, the organization “seeks to provide aid and assistance to the Sudanese Diaspora in the Gambella region of Ethiopia along the Eastern border of Southern Sudan.” Among the aid that the organization provides are fishing nets, agriculture, land and community programs.

It’s a project led and organized by Kher, with the help of other knowledgeable volunteers based in the United States, Sudan and Ethiopia. This past summer, Kher was also one of the many finalists selected for a Do Something! Award.

Kher said his project functions by providing land on which the refugees can live and farm.

“I buy land and I give it back to them,” Kher said. “I want to get the entire of the land back. It’s a basic human right. If you want to solve a problem, give them land.”

As a former refugee, Kher said he has been able to keep in close contact with many still affected in the region and he understands their struggle. According to Kher, there are about 250,000 refugees who are living without shelter, food or education.

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