South shows support for the people of Darfur

By Denebola
Published: November 2007
By Moire CorcoranOn December 5, as Louis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, presents his case against upper level members of the Sudanese government, students will band together nationwide in support of this major step toward ending the four year genocide in Sudan.
The student anti-genocide coalition (STAND) is raising awareness through DarfurFast, a fundraiser asking peers, families, and communities to give up one luxury item, such as a daily Starbucks run, on December 5 and donate that money for the protection of civilians in Darfur.
All of the money raised will be donated to the Genocide Intervention Network’s Civilian Protection program, which provides protection to civilian women when looking for firewood and alternative cooking solutions.
Due to the roaming Janjaweed militias, women who scavenge for firewood amidst the deserts of Darfur are left vulnerable to violence and rape.
The Civilian Protection program offers a firewood patrol program, alternative-fuel kitchens, and poultry projects to generate income that can be used to buy firewood.
The Newton South chapter of STAND has recruited teachers to become notable fasters. Benjamin Youngman is giving up his breakfast, and Megan Crist is abstaining from her daily dose of coffee. Even principle Brian Salzer is participating to help raise money and awareness.
By involving teachers, STAND hopes to bring more attention to the fundraiser and get more students involved.
All of the STAND chapters in Massachusetts are competing against other states to raise the most money during DarfurFast. The Massachusetts chapters have decided to aim to raise $100,000 during the fundraiser, which was what they raised nation-wide in last year’s fast.
While some say the plan is ambitious, Kyoko Takenaka, the Northeast High School Coordinator for STAND and Newton South senior, believes otherwise.
“A lot of people get discouraged, and remain apathetic about the situation in Darfur, questioning if what they are doing is actually making a difference.
This campaign produces tangible results, specifically saving the women at the IDP camps, through the Genocide Intervention Network, the only program of its kind in Darfur,” Takenaka said.
“Giving up one latte for a day, protecting a woman from rape and attack for a year. Think about it.”
The members of South’s STAND chapter, however, continue to remain undaunted by large challenges.
“The point of DarfurFast is to abstain from spending money on something you don’t need and instead donate the money to people who do,” senior Lealea Hane said. “Things like coffee, video games, and designer jeans don’t mean as much to us as they do to Darfuri citizens whose protection depends on the money that we as a community can raise.”
“We really want to bring this home,” Takenaka said. “Bring it to your friends and families. What are you giving up for Darfur?”
With so many people planning on participating, the value of what you give up is insignificant because every dollar really does make a difference. Not only is it a great way to raise money, but also a great way to raise both support and awareness for the suffering that is going on in Darfur.
STAND will have collection jars in the cafeteria the week of December 5 for all donations.

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