The Good Lie is a drama depicting an American woman as she’s assigned to care for four young Sudanese refugees after they win the lottery to relocate to the United States. This film is inspired by real-life events.
During the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983 to 2005), over 20,000 young boys were orphaned or displaced from their families as a result of the ongoing violence, which killed an estimated two million people. Most of these boys were between the ages of 7 and 17 years, and they were of Nuer or Dinka ethnicity.
Boys in such circumstances were referred to as "Lost Boys" by the humanitarian workers who worked in refugee camps at the time. This nickname was inspired by the story of Peter Pan, who was a young boy with no parents — similar to the Sudanese children.
During the conflict, many of the children were separated from their families in order to avoid serving as soldiers. Young boys would run away from their rural villages, hoping to find work in the bigger cities. Many of them ended up joining groups headed towards refugee camps in neighboring countries like Ethiopia. Unfortunately, those who reached Ethiopia were forced to go on the run again in 1991 after the change of government. Many boys didn’t survive the long and gruesome trek back to a war-torn Sudan, and some of them headed towards Kenya. Some of them were made it to a camp where they were helped by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
UNICEF has also helped, reuniting nearly 1,200 boys with their families, but thousands more needed help. In 2001, the international community started to become more aware of the terrible circumstances of the refugee camps, and many boys were taken to countries like the U.S. and Canada as orphans. In 2005, North and South Sudan signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which allowed the orphaned children who were forced to leave the country to return.
The term "Lost Boys of Sudan" was reused more recently during the tumultuous events of the South Sudan’s 2011 independence from Sudan. Many children fled in the aftermath of this independence movement, and they were also referred to as the "Lost Boys of Sudan." To this day, children are being forced to flee the violence that continues in the region.