Ger Duany was only 13 years old when he became a child soldier in his home country of what is now South Sudan. Spending his childhood living in constant fear of being killed, he did what he had to — he picked up a gun and shot back, the only way to survive in a war.

More than 20 years later, Duany, now 36, is a model and actor living in New York. He was one of the thousands of "lost boys of Sudan" who were brought to resettle and rebuild their lives in the United States. He recently played a leading role as a Sudanese refugee in the film "The Good Lie" opposite actress Reese Witherspoon. The movie focuses on the struggles of social integration faced by refugees in a new country.

"Becoming a refugee meant losing everything you know about your life, and death was a constant thing that most of us have seen," Duany tells The Japan Times. "(We went through) many dangers to survive."