Introducing Julia. Where do uprooted refugees anchor their belonging in a world of violent separation from homes?

This is a story of a young girl named Julia from the Dinka tribe in South Sudan (previously Sudan). Julia bid farewell to her beloved sister in an overcrowded IDP camp near the central swamps of the Nile basin – now called South Sudan. Julia’s sister passed away from malaria leaving behind her one-month old daughter.

During the Second Sudanese civil war (1983-2005) Julia fled Sudan with her sister’s daughter. She took a 3000 km long gruesome journey with the baby crossing countries along the Red Sea to reach Egypt.

The second civil war forcibly displaced more than 4 million internally displaced people (IDPs) within Sudan and almost 500,000 refugees outside its borders registered as asylum seekers in neighboring countries. Ongoing conflicts in Yemen and in Sub-Saharan Africa have forced more people to flee to various countries. Over the past two years the number of registered refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt has increased by 24%. Millions of refugees dream of going back home, just like Julia however they require safety and dignity and full commitment of the country of origin to help reintegrate its own people. At the end of 2019, there were approximately 4.2 million people around the world waiting for a decision on their asylum claims.

Currently waiting in Egypt for her refugee asylee status determination for over twenty years, Julia receives support from UNHCR in Egypt through subsidized education and health care and manages to send her children to school, which remains her biggest priority. For many refugees in waiting, every day is a new kind of trial. Throughout the displacement journey, the resilience tactics of Julia and millions of refugees is to make a home and wait for a new home. 

Julia in 'Over the moon'