Refugee Week
Family with father in colourful white shirt, mother in red outfit holding baby and four other children

Awut and Akol’s Story

In the heart of Refugee Week 2024, amidst the celebration of resilience and courage, one family’s journey eptiomises how love, connection through culture and collective identity carries over throughout generations. Meet Awut, the oldest of nine siblings, and mother to five children, originally from South Sudan.

“Family is a support system,” Awut reflects, her voice echoing with the weight of her experiences. With nine siblings, she knows firsthand the power of love and support that comes from being part of a large family. “Having that many siblings means that much love, love and support I hope my kids can have too.”

For Awut, family isn’t just about blood ties; it’s about caring for each other and supporting each other through thick and thin. “In our culture, for you to be considered a rich person isn’t based on assets,” she explains.

“It’s about how many people are around you, how much love and support you have. You would have a role within the family, whether you are a carer or protector—it’s a legacy passed down from my father.”

The importance of family is woven into every aspect of Awut’s life, even in the naming of her children. “All five kids are named after a family member,” she shares. “This is how we carry on our family legacies.” Through this tradition, Awut’s and her husband Akol’s family history becomes an integral part of their identity, connecting them to their roots and heritage.

But family isn’t just about carrying on traditions—it’s about providing for each other, protecting each other, and leading by example. “Carer, protector, leader, and provider,” her husband Akol lists, the roles ingrained in his family’s DNA.

As Refugee Week unfolds, Awut and Akol’s story of family ties serves as a powerful reminder of the strength found within refugee families. It’s a celebration of the bonds that transcend borders and adversity, and the unwavering support that comes from being part of a loving and caring family. In the journey towards freedom and healing, it’s these familial ties that provide the strength to overcome even the greatest of challenges.

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