Mother of the Lost Boys of Sudan
By Arizona News Group, USA (Originally in English)
Ms. Reita Hutson, a petite woman blessed with a brilliant smile and gleaming silver hair, is mother to 400 of the Lost Boys of Sudan, a group of more than 30,000 orphaned boys from the Second Sudanese Civil War. To them, Ms. Hutson is a source of love and the reason they have a chance at successful adult lives in the United States through education.
The story of the Lost Boys, who were forced to flee their homes after their villages were destroyed, gained worldwide attention in the late 1990s. For years, the youngsters journeyed thousands of miles together, barefoot and hungry, fending for and protecting one another. Thousands passed away during the journey until they were finally moved to a refugee camp, where each day for nine years they survived on a gallon of water and a meager meal.
When the US was made aware of the Boys’ dire situation, the government helped to relocate thousands to the States, with 400 going to Arizona. Upon hearing their story through media reports, Ms. Reita Hutson was deeply moved, and vowed to help them. Then by chance she met a gentleman in a neighborhood grocery store who was one of the Lost Boys. This encounter proved to be the beginning of her noble mission – giving all the Boys in Arizona an education and dental assistance. The gentleman’s name is now Gabriel – the inspiration behind the name of Ms. Hutson’s organization, Gabriel’s Dream: A Charity for Sudan’s Lost Boys.
After learning of Ms. Hutson’s tireless dedication to the Lost Boys, Supreme Master Ching Hai awarded her the Shining World Compassion Award, along with a US$10,000 contribution to support her noble work. On October 20, Golden Year 4 (2007), in Scottsdale, Arizona, Reita Hutson and Gabriel accepted the Award with immense gratitude. Gabriel had just gained US citizenship and was looking forward to completing college. He dreams of becoming a speaker to inspire goodness in others. In discussing her work, Ms. Hutson says, “We believe that the Lost Boys are a gift to our lives, and that in helping them we are really lifting our own souls.” She is a good reminder to us all that when we open our hearts to give to our fellow beings, we get countless rewards in return.