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The lost children of Port Sudan

Families come to Port Sudan for work and a better life because their own land has rejected them only to find all the jobs taken and all their money spent. In this scramble to survive some are forgotten and left behind.

Children leave their families because they are forced. A child will not leave a safe place for one infinitely more treacherous and filled with dangers. A new husband to their mother or an empty stomach nudges them out. They end up walking the streets looking for a way out of their current life and into another.

Before long, children find children on the streets. They accept each other despite all their imperfections and for the first time they feel like they belong. Sudanese society calls these children ‘Shamasa’ or Sniffers because they take to glue and petrol sniffing to waste the hours away. With no guidance or structure, goals or love their lives spiral down until malaria or some other illness ends their short, painful, unfulfilled lives. Written by Hassan El-Barbary

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