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Refugee Fled Civil War and Created a Video Game of his Plight to Teach Others and Save Lives

Refugee Fled Civil War and Created a Video Game of his Plight to Teach Others and Save Lives

When Lual Mayen and his family fled the horrific violence during South Sudan’s second civil war, they became refugees in Uganda for 22 years. While at a refugee camp he learned how to code at age 12 and later created a video game called Salaam,” which means peace in Arabic, to make others aware of his plight and to save lives by bridging virtual and real worlds.

Mayen, now a 25-year-old developer, who owns his own gaming company in Washington, D.C., was born during his family’s 250-mile (400 km) treacherous journey “of life and death.” He recalls his family stories about bomb attacks, wild animals and abandoned babies.



The “Salaam” game is free to play, but Mayen points out that “when participants need to buy food, water or medicine for their virtual characters, they can make in-app purchases that will go to real-life refugees.” While the game shows you what it’s like to be a refugee, Mayen didn’t want it to be violent, but rather a game that created peace and conflict resolution.

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