Malith used to live at the Jesuit Refugee Service Amani Centre, a secure place for young boys with protection concerns in Kakuma refugee camp. He has now been resettled to the United States of America (Angela Wells/Jesuit Refugee Service).

I came to Kakuma refugee camp in 2010, and I'm now in my first year of secondary school. Here in Kakuma, the services keep us alive, yet barely surviving. Camp life isn't a good life, especially for those people who've been here for more than 20 years.

I live at the Jesuit Refugee Service Amani Centre, a protection centre for unaccompanied minors. We must stay here because we've all faced dangers in the camp, and we struggle to study or even survive without parents to take care of us. Since moving to this centre, my performance in school has improved because they take care of my basic needs.

Someday, I want to become an engineer so I can build roads that will help children reach school. If Africa can build a good network of roads, then anything is possible. Africans will be able to trade within the continent and poverty will decrease. We won't need to depend on others.

For now, I am happy living here and I feel at peace. Here, we don't have to suffer. I've met guys from different countries and realised we can be strong together.

Luckily, I was chosen to be sent to the United States with my 16-year-old brother. When I reach there, I will then decide where my life is going. I'll finally have the chance to become independent and self-reliant. Being taken away from Kakuma is a gift from God, but I'll always remember this place, and I'll come back to help when I have the chance.

Dear Pope Francis,

War seems to be the hobby of the world – there is violence in Egypt, attacks in Kenya, war in South Sudan. Since 2013, all my people in South Sudan have been dying. This problem is not ours alone to solve, we need the whole world.  You are a great person, so please help us Africans to not be victims on this continent anymore. Please pray for us to love each other and to end these wars.

No one likes to be a refugee, but no one wants to stay home and watch people they love die either. As refugees we're denied rights and can't speak out. If leaders respect us citizens and these wars end, then there will be no more refugees.

I also ask the whole world to join together to help refugees. Life is not only hard for those of us from South Sudan, but also those from Syria. Thank you for calling on families to accommodate Syrian refugees and emphasising the importance of peace, of staying together. If we are all together, regardless of nationality, then we can solve these world problems, and we'll all be able to live in dignity. Nothing is impossible if we support each other to make this world great without discrimination and hate.

If it's possible for you to really help refugee children who are suffering, please do it. They need school, because being in school keeps us safe and allows us to go to university and start our lives over again.

I hope one day all people can move to other countries to seek new experiences, but not because they are forced.

Please also pray for me to succeed in life. If I can succeed then I can help others who are suffering.

In solidarity,

Malith, 18, South Sudanese, student, football fan, future engineer, refugee

Countries Related to this Region
Kenya, South Sudan