SOUTH SUDAN / WENYEN GABRIEL VISIT

28-Jul-2022 00:06:00
Los Angeles Lakers Power Forward and former refugee Wenyen Gabriel is in South Sudan this week, visiting his homeland for the first time since being resettled to the US at a young age. UNHCR

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STORY: SOUTH SUDAN / WENYEN GABRIEL VISIT
TRT: 6:00
SOURCE: UNHCR
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT UNHCR ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH/NATS

DATELINE: 7-10 MARCH 2022, OLD FANGAK, SOUTH SUDAN / 25-27 JULY 2022, MANGALLA, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

SHOTLIST:

25-27 JULY 2022, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

1. Med shot, Wenyen performing a slam dunk at the basketball net, Manute Bol Basketball Courts
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Wenyen Gabriel, basketball player, Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association:
“My name is Wenyen Gabriel. I'm a professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers.”
3. Med shot, Wenyen Gabriel, taking a photo with representatives, Manute Bol Basketball Courts
4. Med shot, Wenyen meeting and shaking hands, Manute Bol Basketball Courts
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Wenyen Gabriel, basketball player, Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association:
“I'm South Sudanese. I was born in Khartoum, Sudan, before I was moved to Cairo, Egypt. And when I was two years old, I moved to the United States.”

25-27 JULY 2022, MANGALLA, CENTRAL EQUATORIA STATE, SOUTH SUDAN

6. Various shots, Wenyen sitting in a circle listening to speakers, Mangalla IDP camp

25-27 JULY 2022, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

7. SOUNDBITE (English) Wenyen Gabriel, basketball player, Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association:
“Today, I'm at the Mangalla IDP camp with UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.”

25-27 JULY 2022, MANGALLA, CENTRAL EQUATORIA STATE, SOUTH SUDAN

8. Various shots, Wenyen greeted by elders, Mangalla IDP camp
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Wenyen Gabriel, basketball player, Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association:
“For me to come here, it was really eye-opening for me to see how people are really living. I mean, I went to Juba. I got to see how people are living in Juba. I've got to visit my family over there on my mom's side, my dad's side, and I got to see how they're living. And, you know, they're struggling without running water, electricity, different things like that. And then I come over to the camp, and I see how they're living at the camp, and it's even harsher, you know, to see how they're living. And it was eye-opening, and the way they welcomed me and how happy they were to see me, it really touched me.”
10. Various shots, displaced children studying in a classroom, Mangalla IDP camp
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Wenyen Gabriel, basketball player, Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association:
“I was greeted by the elders at first. They gave me a very warm welcome. And they already knew who I was. I was really impressed by the women and the children and how they were able to describe what their grievances are here, and why they're here and how proud they are of me and how we can build together.”
12. Pan left, Wenyen and children in a classroom, Mangalla IDP camp
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Wenyen Gabriel, basketball player, Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association:
“These are people who are really ambitious people, and if you give them opportunity, they can really excel. There are people like myself in different countries in Europe, Australia, America, where we've gotten opportunities, and we've proven what we could do. And there are people over here that really want this. So, I had the young kids, they came over, and they spoke to me very vocally on what they needed to do and how they feel about sports and vocational schools. And maybe not everyone here is going to be a doctor or engineer, but if you give them different hands-on skills, these kids can learn on how to build the country, and these tools are really important.”
14. Various shots, Wenyen and children in a classroom, Mangalla IDP camp
15. Various shots, Wenyen meeting children outside the classroom, Mangalla IDP camp
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Wenyen Gabriel, basketball player, Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association:
“I just organized my first ever basketball camp. And it's just a privilege to be here in South Sudan, where I had it. And I'm thankful to the UNHCR as they brought 20 displaced people over so they could participate with the rest of the country.”

25-27 JULY 2022, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

17. Med shot, basketball players, doing a team huddle before match, Manute Bol Basketball Courts
18. Various shots, crowd watching from the spectator stands, basketball game, Manute Bol Basketball Courts
19. SOUNDBITE (English) Wenyen Gabriel, basketball player, Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association:
“I just think it's important for us to bring attention here because this is one of the most underfunded crises in the world. And I think we need to bring more attention here because a lot of times, it's not just fighting that brought these people displaced. A lot of these people here are displaced because of flooding and natural disasters, things they have no control over.”
20. Various shots, basketball players during a game, Manute Bol Basketball Courts
21. SOUNDBITE (English) Wenyen Gabriel, basketball player, Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association:
“It's my job here to come to call for more help, to bring attention over here. And I understand I can't do everything by myself, but I can at least bring attention to this, to what's going on over here. For a crisis this large, the largest crisis to be, this underfunded. I mean, it’s an injustice.”

25-27 JULY 2022, MANGALLA, CENTRAL EQUATORIA STATE, SOUTH SUDAN

22. Various shots, Wenyen, displaced football players, football game, Mangalla IDP Camp

7-10 MARCH 2022, OLD FANGAK, SOUTH SUDAN

23. Various shots, people building dykes, flooded area

MANGALLA, CENTRAL EQUATORIA STATE, SOUTH SUDAN

25. Various shots, locals, streets

STORYLINE:
Los Angeles Lakers Power Forward and former refugee Wenyen Gabriel is in South Sudan this week, visiting his homeland for the first time since being resettled to the US at a young age.

During his visit with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, Gabriel met with families and individuals displaced due to floods and conflict in the region.

Gabriel was born in Sudan’s capital Khartoum in 1997 after his parents fled the civil war in the south. The NBA player said: “I am here in South Sudan for the first time since my family fled the country. We were resettled to the US as refugees with the support of UNHCR. My experience makes me want to speak up for refugees and displaced people everywhere and help make a difference.”

Wenyen began playing basketball at a young age and currently plays for the LA Lakers, one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA. Now 25 years old, Wenyen is keen to support the work of UNHCR and harness the power of sport to help those forced to flee to build a better future.

Gabriel said: “I want people to know about South Sudan. I always wanted to go back, and I am happy I’ve made it here. I’ve organized a basketball camp this week for children, including 21 displaced children. I visited camps with UNHCR, seeing with my own eyes the importance of helping people who’ve been forced to flee their homes, though there is a major shortage of funds for life-saving assistance. The world shouldn’t forget about South Sudan.”

Welcoming Gabriel to South Sudan, Arafat Jamal, UNHCR’s Representative, said: “We’re honored to have such a dedicated, energetic, and compassionate athlete with us. I am moved by his passion for giving back to his home country, and I look forward to continuing our partnership to build hope and opportunity for South Sudanese youth.”

Despite high needs, South Sudan’s refugee crisis is the largest in Africa and is also one of UNHCR’s most underfunded crises. Millions are also internally displaced due to conflict and insecurity, as well as flooding and drought driven by climate change.

Gabriel continued: “South Sudan is a young country, but it’s one with much potential. Many South Sudanese in the diaspora have been successful. We have world-famous models, athletes, and entrepreneurs. I want to contribute my part and help my people, including refugees and people displaced within South Sudan, through the unifying power of sports and especially basketball.”

Wenyen Gabriel started supporting UNHCR in 2020 by amplifying key campaigns and marking South Sudan’s Independence Day as a moment to gather attention for the humanitarian situation in the country.
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UNHCR
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2911073