- Sout Al Salaam Awards 2019 by AnaTaban
Lual Mayen, a 24-year-old former refugee from South Sudan, has founded a flourishing startup in the US that builds video games to promote peace.
Mayen, who survived a bloody war in Sudan, drew on his experience to set up the company, according to a report by Washington Post.
There was a time in the life of the young entrepreneur when he scrapped through each day wondering if he would see the next. Many of his friends at that time were recruited as child soldiers. He had to deal with the devastation of always seeing bombs fall from the sky.
The Washington Post report said two of his female siblings died on their way from South Sudan to a refugee camp in Northern Uganda. The first time he saw a computer, Mayen was 12. Fast forward from making that 225-mile journey on foot to today, Lual leads his own company.
He is only 24, who bases on his past experiences to make his products. Interestingly, Mayen’s work is focused on building peace and resolving conflict. He leads his company to accomplish this through the skill of video game development. He created his first game Salaam, meaning ‘peace’ at a time he still lived as a refugee. The game was centered on the life of a person struggling for survival like he had done.
Proceeds made from the game support actual refugees through collaborations with several NGOs as the players are educated on how to go about the everyday struggle for survival. The journey to programming began when, after seeing a deep interest in computers, Mayen’s mother saved to buy him a laptop. Luck was not on their side, as there was no power to charge the laptop.
Lual took it upon himself to walk three hours every single day to get the laptop charged.
He taught himself to code, use graphic design programmes and speak English. As the interest of the young passionate boy grew, he desired to programme something to entertain his friends. That was how the game came in. The game had great success and earned him invites to serve in the capacity of a consultant for the World Bank as well as a Visa into the United States. After several mentorship programmes and partnerships, Lual Mayen now has a flourishing startup fulfilling the dream of building games to teach others about peace.