One of Sudan’s ‘lost girls’ to speak at BGSU

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Audiences will hear firsthand about the struggle of Sudanese women to survive genocide and endure violent refugee camps when Micklina Kenyi speaks at Bowling Green State University next week. Her presentation will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in the Gish Film Theater at Hanna Hall. It is free and open to the public.

The honors graduate from the University of Colorado is one of the war-torn country’s “lost girls,” a victim of the violence of the civil war as well as the related sexual violence widely used as a tool of war. She will share personal anecdotes of her struggle and discuss the difficulties of recovering from the events and her efforts to build a new life in the United States.  

“This is her lived experience, not something she learned about through studying,” said Dr. Mary Krueger, director of the BGSU Women’s Center, one of the sponsors of the event. “She has a really compelling personal story. She escaped but she came to realize that her luck and education would be in vain if she did not help other women to get out and especially to get access to education. Systemic change cannot happen in Sudan until women can be educated.”

Kenyi is the founder of the Community of Sudanese and American Women (CSAW), a nonprofit organization that aims to empower Sudanese refugee women by helping them obtain education in the United States in addition to preserving their dignity and cultural heritage.

During the presentation, scenes from the documentary “Lost Girls” will be shown. The film is the result of an oral history project by Kenyi and CSAW that began in 2009, detailing the lives of three Sudanese women who lived through traumas that rendered them “lost girls.”

In addition, Kenyi will share her country’s rich culture through a display of art, beadwork and other items, as well as artifacts from other female survivors.

A bridge between Black History Month and Women’s History Month at BGSU, the event is sponsored by BGSU’s Ethnic Cultural Arts Program, African People’s Association, Master of Arts in Cross-Cultural and International Education program, National Council of Negro Women, World Student Association, and Organization for Women’s Issues.

For more information, call the Women’s Center at 419-372-2618.

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(Posted February 24, 2011 )