Lim Bol dreams of becoming a doctor.

He fled violence in South Sudan alone.

Lim Bol, 21 years old: “There are great differences between life as a refugee and life living in your own nation. At home, I was working as a chemistry teacher at a basic school. When I think about serving people, it really excites me, because it helps my community grow. 

But when I came to the camp, I spent three months idle, with no job. Then, when a primary school opened in the refugee camp, a vacancy was advertised. I applied and found myself first as a teacher, and now as the vice-principal. It is hard work, but it is good work. I am serving people again.  

Before the war, my plan was to study medicine – it inspires me to see doctors work. I still hope to achieve my dream, but first I have to finish my schooling, and here I am without the opportunity to do that. That is really killing our future.”


Lim is from South Sudan, where the escalation of the 2013 conflict has forced 670,000 people to flee to neighboring countries. A further 1.7 million people are homeless inside their own country. Lim’s parents are both dead and his brother refused to leave home to flee to Ethiopia with him.  

Lim is alone at Kule refugee camp in Gambella and, while his basic needs are covered, he says the interruption of his schooling is the thing that gets him down the most. While he waits to complete his secondary education, he is working as a teacher and vice-principal at one of the camp’s over-crowded primary schools. 

Ethiopia. Teacher Lim Bol from South Sudan wants to become a medical doctor.

Lim Bol, 21, is a South Sudanese refugee living in Kule refugee campaign in Ethiopia. He dreams of becoming a doctor one day. Until then, he is a vice-principal and teacher at the campus primary school. © UNHCR / P. WIGGERS

Ethiopia. Teacher Lim Bol from South Sudan wants to become a medical doctor.

Lim Bol (left) runs a little grocery shop together with his cousin and roommate, Gatwech Gil Thong (right).© UNHCR / P. WIGGERS

Ethiopia. Teacher Lim Bol from South Sudan wants to become a medical doctor.

Lim, 21, finds being a teacher and a vice-principal hard work, but also rewarding. “When I think about serving people, it really excites me, because it helps my community grow,” he says.© UNHCR / P. WIGGERS

Ethiopia. Teacher Lim Bol from South Sudan wants to become a medical doctor.

As a vice-principal, Lim has to check the attendance list of the students on a daily basis. He visits every classroom, where he is known by both students and teachers.© UNHCR / P. WIGGERS

Ethiopia. Teacher Lim Bol from South Sudan wants to become a medical doctor.

“I want to go back to my country as someone with knowledge, you know, someone with the power to serve people.” Lim, 21, must put his dreams on hold while the conflict rages in South Sudan.© UNHCR / P. WIGGERS


UNHCR helps the Ethiopian authorities to provide basic education, but a lack of funding means secondary schooling stops after one year instead of the required four. “This really is not good for us,” says Lim. “I want to go back to my country as someone with knowledge, you know, someone with the power to serve other people.” 

Written & Video by Dana Hughes

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UNHCR and partners found that despite commendable efforts, there have been some discernible gaps in providing quality, protective education to more than 19,000 school-age children in the camps, mainly hosting Sudanese refugees. The gaps include shortage of primary teachers in some camps, inadequate education response in Ashura transit site (hosting over 5,000 refugees) and the absence of secondary education services in Sherkole and Bambasi camps. In 2016 more than 1,600 qualified refugees are enrolled in higher education institutes throughout Ethiopia, including some 1,300 sponsored by the Government of Ethiopia, and 300 others supported by UNHCR through the DAFI scholarship programme.