Prior to founding the Darfur Awareness Club at Clemson University in 2010, I spent an extensive amount of time researching various organizations’ work for the victims of Darfur. After discovering the Darfur Dream Team Sister Schools Program through a friend who knew of the Enough Project’s work, I knew I had found a match and immediately signed Clemson University up to become a Sister School.
The two main goals of the Darfur Awareness Club are to raise funds and awareness. To raise money for our sister school, Aboutalib B in Goz Amer refugee camp, we have sold bracelets to students and faculty, held late night bake sales in downtown Clemson, SC, and paired up with local restaurants for fundraising events. Recently, we held our largest awareness-raising event when another club member, Allison Denunzio, and I spoke in Clemson’s Annual Globalization Lecture Series. Around 60 students, teachers, and community members came out to hear us speak about the atrocities that have occurred in Darfur, the current refugee crisis, and how the Darfur Awareness Club is supporting refugee education through DDT.
It has been an eye-opening and rewarding experience to raise awareness about the genocide in Darfur and the resulting refugee crisis. The personalization of the Sister School Program has immensely aided in Clemson’s fundraising efforts; club members have the opportunity to build personal ties with individual students who we are supporting in refugee camps halfway around the world. One of the most exciting moments for the Darfur Awareness Club was watching a video of DDT Program Associate Meghan Higginbotham reading a letter we had written to Ali, a student in Goz Amer refugee camp. Moments like these inspire our organization and make all of our fundraising efforts feel worthwhile.
Currently we are busy making plans for Darfur Awareness Month in April. We are hosting a speaker who grew up in Darfur to discuss the culture of the region and the effects that the genocide has left on the region. We look forward to continuing Clemson’s relationship with the Darfur Dream Team and will keep doing our part by raising money and awareness here in South Carolina.
DDT Sister Schools Program Manager Buky Williams is currently visiting Djabal and Goz Amer refugee camps. Like the Darfur Dream Team on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates and dispatches from the trip.
Kelly Herman is a senior at Clemson University in Clemson, SC. She is the president and founder of the Darfur Awareness Club at Clemson and a former DDT intern at the Enough Project.