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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

HOW WOULD YOU DO LIVING IN A REFUGEE CAMP?


DARFURI FAMILIES WITHOUT THEIR HOMES FOR SIX YEARS

Imagine being without electricity. When the electricity goes off for a few hours, it feels like an inconvenience. I reach for the light switch and remember there is no point.

Imagine being without food. Sunday I tried not to eat as a part of solidarity with the Darfuri people. And just because I felt like I couldn't go and get even a cookie, it brought an awareness of what it has to be like for the Darfuris who live day in and day out without the luxury to go to the cupboard or a refrigerator to grab something to answer the need to eat something.

Imagine being without water. No shower. No hand washing. No washing the clothes. Dishes. No water to drink.

Imagine being without plumbing. This would be the worst. No bathroom. It is such a convenience. Just to have your own bathroom. A toilet. Imagine not having a toilet. Ever.

Imagine having nothing.

Imagine not having a pharmacy to go to. Imagine not having a doctor to take your sick child to.

Imagine watching your child dying. Slowly.

Imagine no computers, no TV, no car.

It is hard to imagine.

Darfuri families don't have to imagine. They live it.

1-800-GENOCIDE

Source for Sisters Schools Program: www.darfurdreamteam.org

Students and Teachers

Are you a student or teacher? Do you want to become involved in the Sister Schools Program? Below are step-by-step instructions to help you get started.

Step 1. Join the Program : Sign up your school for the Sister Schools Program and link it with a school in a Darfuri refugee camp. Fill out our simple online form and our Sister Schools coordinator will contact you about the next steps.

Step 2. Get Started: After the Sister Schools coordinator contacts you, we will send you a welcome package. Each package contains information and videos to help you learn about your sister school, how the students live, the crisis in Darfur, and the current situation in Darfuri refugee camps in Chad.

Step 3. Start Giving: Visit our online registry make a pledge to support your sister school. You and your class can also use the registry to track progress toward your goal, plan events, and share status updates with family and friends. There are many ways you can raise money to support your sister school. You can have a bake sale, car wash, art auction, concert, or come up with your own fundraiser. Your support will build or repair school buildings, fund teacher training and salaries, as well as buy books, uniforms, sports equipment, and other supplies.

Step 4. Make Connections: Once you receive your welcome package, you will be able to reply to your sister school with a package of your own. You can include videos, pictures, and letters to share your story with the refugees and tell them about your school, community, and your lives. In 3-6 months, you will be able to video blog and share letters with your sister school regularly.

Step 5. Share your Story: Share your story to inspire and encourage others to take action and provide Darfuri refugee children with quality education. We would love to hear about your recent fundraiser, an event you hosted, and your interactions with your sister school. Share your story with us, and we will even feature it on our website.

Learn More: Enough, Participant Media, and Facing History and Ourselves have teamed up and created a teaching unit based on the book, Not on Our Watch, and the Movie, Darfur Now. Learn more about the teaching unit .Visit these sites and sign up for updates about the crisis in Darfur : Enough Project, Save Darfur Coalition, STAND, and the Genocide Intervention Network.

Ways to get involved with Sister Schools Program

Coming Soon: In fall 2009, the Darfur Dream Team will debut an online community where U.S. schools will have profile pages on which they can blog, upload photos, view movies, join groups, and communicate with other U.S. schools about the crisis in Darfur.



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Report: Vlogging Darfur's People Away from their homes
Vlogging Darfur's Refugees

Text posted with the above video:
This is an update on the the current situation in Darfur. We also take a look at the social media activism about Darfur, including an interview with vlogger activist, Gabriel Stauring from Stop Genocide Now, who visits the refugee camps in Chad and uploads daily vlogs for a series called "iAct".

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Slideshow of
Stop Genocide Now's Day 8 - iACT 7 trip to Darfuri refugees camp
March 31, 2009

This is Stop Genocide Now's most recent posting . . .

Day 8: March 31

Today the team visited the “Obama School” in Camp Djabal. Yuen-Lin worked his magic and connected the Darfuris with Washington D.C. in a streaming video conference using VSee.

ACTION

Today’s action challenges you to put your feet where your heart is. E-mails, phone calls, and letters do make a difference, but imagine taking it to the next level by delivering your message to your Senators in person, face to face. Click here to find out how.

Burnt Memories, Family and Path of Dedicated Action
Posted by Katie-Jay on March 30th, 2009

walingWe enter Obama School for Co-education Basic just before classes begin. There is a nice breeze in the mornings, but not quite strong enough to naturally fend off the flies. Young children are filing blue buckets of water and taking them to classrooms. It takes two boys to carry one, but only one girl to carry it on her head. I can feel the harsh air against my skin and down my throat. Glancing to the hills nearby, I notice once again how cloudy the air is. Dust, sand, smoke.

Four students tell us their part of their stories. Sadly, the general themes run the same. None of their villages are standing anymore. The tukuls, markets, fences and possessions are all burned. All of them walked here, 2-3 days at a time, then a rest, then continuing on. They all know someone who was killed. Memories that I don’t think I could bare to talk about without some sort of process, they share as if it is normal.

I remember how upset I once got when my mother told me that my elementary school burned down. I remember taking a day to think of all my memories of the great halls of Coe Elementary with the, tall ceilings, grand staircases that went up four floors and strong wooden doors. My memories of racing on the playground, and of cracking my tooth on the cement are still clear. I was so upset at the news. I cannot even begin to imagine if all of my hometown was burned. Flames would replace memories of holidays, friends, bicycles and evening walks with my mom. How is that we have allowed flames and bloodshed to replace the memories of innocent children of an entire population?

boys thanking .JPG It is late morning and the sun is getting hot, before we break for the hottest part of the day, we visit old friends, Adef and Achta. Once named, Hassan and Hissein, the two twin boys in Level 2 are now Bashar and Bashir. I tickle little Guisma’s tummy and she giggles. I snap pictures of the twins and show them, they laugh and eagerly follow us around with the camera’s hoping to catch a glimpse of themselves. Every so often I flip the view-finder, just to hear their laugh. Abdelmouni, once a very serious little boy, now walks around briskly playing with his brothers and attempting to wrestle Bashar to the ground. It feels so right to be connected to this family, almost as if they are an extension of my own. In many ways, they are.

waling w water to class 3.JPG Yesterday, the Obama Administration met with activist leaders, including John Prendergast, Jerry Fowler and Gloria White-Hammond. This may be a small step in the right direction, but in no way does it mean that we deter from our current path of dedicated, urgent action for Darfur. A meeting, and former President Bush had lots of those, does not change the situation on the ground. It does not bring aid. It does not bring peace. We must keep our actions consistent and on-going, or this meeting will only be lip-service to quiet the movement. Until there is tangible, visible change on the ground, we must be loud. For Adef, Achta, Guisma, Abdelmouni, and the entire population of children whose memories are of burnt homes, death, and displacement, please, please be their voice.

When you feel tired and hopeless, please turn to the voices of the Darfuris themselves. They have confidence in us. We simply cannot let them down.

Peace, ktj


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The Darfuri Djabal refugee camp in Chad - the manager of the Obama School

iACTivism

Today the team visited the Obama School in Camp Djabal. Yuen-Lin worked his magic and connected the Darfuris with Washington D.C. in a streaming video conference.


Day 8 Action: Arab League & Get to Know your Senators
Posted by Katie-Jay on March 30th, 2009

Urgent Action 1: The New York Times reported today that “Arab Leaders Unite Behind Bashir”, claiming that the ICC indictment against him is a violation of Sudan’s sovereignty. After spending the last 4 days talking to people who have suffered for 5 years or more as a direct result of this man’s government, news like this is very hard to read. Regardless of the type of government a country has, the opinion of its citizenry has an impact, especially when that opinion is shared by many. If you have friends, relatives or colleagues with links to countries represented in the Arab League, talk to them about Darfur. Point them to the i-ACT website. Share with them the voices of the refugees. TRUTH will prevail.

Action 2: Calling and writing our leaders is important, and provides consistency in our message that we will not accept genocide in Darfur any longer. But we also need to shift our actions to match the urgency necessary to stop the dying in Darfur. We need you and your community to bring Darfur to your Senate office. This would be an opportunity to thank them if they have acted for Darfur and share stories, photos or videos of Darfuris and ask them to be a Darfur advocate. Start to organize a sit-in at your Senators office by taking these easy steps::

1. Look up your Senators, and their offices. Are they on any special committees like Human Rights or Foreign Policy? Get to know their Darfur Score.
2. Discuss the opportunity with your friends, family and community. Gather a list of those who may potentially participate.
3. If you are interested in doing this action, send an email to i-actinfo[at]stopgenocidenow.org.

And as always, please continue to Wake Up, Brush your Teeth, Call your Leaders

Los Angeles Action: Please join us on Sunday, April 5th 1:00 pm for an Interfaith Sedar @ the LA Federal Building on Wishire Blvd! Download the updated flyer.

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Write to President Obama
http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

You can also write to the President at:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

President Obama can be called:

202-456-1111
or
1-800-GENOCIDE

The White House comment line is available
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. weekdays

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Find USA elected politicians contact information at this link:
www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

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