Press Release


Imagine being thirteen years old.  The village where you and your three younger brothers live is attacked by armed militia.  You are at school when you first hear the crack of gunshots, and everyone runs, screaming.  In the chaos, you manage to find your younger brothers and run home, but your mother is away and you can’t find your father.  People are screaming. You see dead bodies lying on the ground.  You are terrified and you don’t know what to do.  You run to your aunt’s house, who tells you that you must escape with her across the border to the next country, hundreds of miles away.  You travel for three days, with no food and no water, except what you can find from streams.  


This is the story of Moses, a South Sudanese refugee now living at the Bidibidi Refugee Camp in Uganda.  He is one of 10,500 South Sudanese children who live there without their parents.  Some are orphans; others (like Moses) have been separated from their parents by armed conflict.  Though some are placed into temporary foster care, many remain unaccompanied and vulnerable.  Traumatized by war, flight, and the loss of family, and without a strong support network, these children need help and support.

 
What is the single ‘Rising Beyond’ about?


You can hear the voices of a group of these children uplifted in the single, ‘Rising Beyond’.  The lyrics (below) express the desire of the children to tell their stories to the world, and in so doing to rise above the difficulties they have experienced.

 
The song was made possible by a new charity, I-Can (founded 2018), which exists to help unaccompanied refugee children in the Bidibidi refugee camp to engage in social, sporting and especially musical activities.  Initially funded by a grant from Misereor, the German Catholic Bishops' Organisation for Development Cooperation, the aim of I-Can is to give these children a friendship network, to provide meaning, hope and purpose, and to give them a proud and strong voice.


I-Can is currently helping 20 unaccompanied refugee children for 6 months.  These children have been assisted with food supplies, additional resources to help them at school, and extracurricular music lessons.  But the programme desperately needs help to secure further funding to develop and extend its programme of activities for this vulnerable group.  By playing or writing about this song, you can help in a very real way to spread the word about I-Can’s activities. 

 
More About I-Can


Created by experienced refugee youth trainers and teachers Stephen Wandu Bimo, Seme Ludanga and Kyobutungi Angela in 2018, I Can initially received a grant of Euro 5,000 to help 20 children over 6 months.  The charity’s programme includes musical coaching with an emphasis on group work, building individual confidence and creating links of friendship between the children, who come from both sides of the tribal conflict in South Sudan.  Children are also taken on ‘treat’ outings together, to put a smile on their faces and to give them positive experiences outside of the refugee camp.
The musical programme focuses in part on the preservation of South Sudanese stories, songs, and musical traditions.  As refugees in Uganda, the children’s schooling teaches them the songs and poetry of a different place.  While this is potentially a very enriching experience, it is also important that they do not lose contact with the stories and poetry of their own South Sudanese traditions.  This is not just about cultural preservation, but also about comfort: storytelling is an important part of South Sudanese culture, and children sing songs as they play and gather in the evening to tell stories (known as ‘Pature’ in Zande culture).  Many of these have been passed down for generations.  I-Can aims to preserve these traditions in an inclusive way, so that the children are taught the practices and stories of a variety of tribes.


More funding is urgently needed to secure the future of the programme, and to allow it to expand to help support more young people.  The hope is that the release of this song will draw attention to the charity’s activities, helping to raise further funds. 

 
Donating to I-Can


You can donate to the I-Can charity at: https://www.icansouthsudan.com/donate


More information is available on our newly created website at: www.icansouthsudan.com


About South Sudan


South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011.  The hope was that this would end one of Africa’s longest-running civil wars.  However, semi-tribal civil war broke out in the new country in 2013, raging for five years and displacing an estimated 4 million people out of a population of 10 million (BBC).  Recently, a peace deal between the two sides was signed, but violence has unfortunately continued, with the population’s miseries further exacerbated by famine.  


Lyrics to ‘Rising Beyond’


Rising beyond beyond the barriers
Rising beyond the mountains
Rising beyond the valleys
Nothing can hold us down (Repeated)

Yes we can
Yes we can
Yes we can
We can make it (Repeated)
We will never give up
We will never back down (Repeated)
Oh Yes
We can
Oh, oh yes
We can
We can oh oh oh oh oh
Oh yes
We can
Oh yes
We can
Oh yeah
We can oh oh oh oh oh (Repeated)

Rising beyond our status
Rising beyond our pains
Rising beyond our challenges
Nothing can hold us down (Repeated)

Yes we can
Yes we can
Yes we can
We can make it (Repeated)
We will never give up
We will never back down (Repeated)
Oh Yes
We can
Oh,  oh yes
We can
We can oh oh oh oh oh
Oh yes
We can
Oh yes
We can
Oh yeah
We can oh oh oh oh oh (Repeated)

Rising beyond our grieves
Rising beyond Tribalism
Rising beyond hatred
Nothing can hold us down (Repeated)

Yes we can
Yes we can
Yes we can
We can make it (Repeated)
We will never give up
We will never back down (Repeated)
Oh Yes
We can
Oh,  oh yes
We can
We can oh oh oh oh oh
Oh yes
We can
Oh yes
We can
Oh yeah
We can oh oh oh oh oh (Repeated)