Basketball star Tracy McGrady, whose visit to Darfuri refugee camps in eastern Chad prompted the creation of the Darfur Dream Team Sister Schools program, will switch to jersey #3 for the Houston Rockets 2009-2010 season to draw attention to the humanitarian project and the documentary “3 Points” that chronicled his visit to the camps.
In 2007, McGrady traveled to eastern Chad with Enough’s John Prendergast and Omer Ismail, because he wanted to “hear the stories [of Darfuri refugees] and help bring their stories back over here so other people can hear what’s really going on,”as McGrady explained in an interview in the film. Moved by the people he met and the needs they articulated, McGrady teamed up with Enough to establish the Darfur Dream Team Sister Schools program, which connects middle schools, high schools, and universities in the United States with sister schools in the refugee camps in Chad. In partnership with implementing partner UNHCR and a coalition that includes Participant Media, Facing History and Ourselves, Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, and i-ACT, the program has two primary aims: to provide quality education to every refugee child from Darfur and to create connections between students from Darfur and the United States to promote mutual understanding.
On World Refugee Day this year, McGrady announced that he would donated the funding to support the Ocampo school in Djabal camp, one of 12 schools the Darfur Dream Team will support this school year. Now, by wearing his #3 jersey, McGrady said that he seeks to honor on the court the people he met in the camps who are forced to live without freedom and peace. “3 Points,” a documentary directed by Josh Rothstein, refers to the three-part approach for ending the cycle of violence in Sudan’s Darfur region: peace, protection, and punishment.
McGrady’s new #3 jerseys will be available at NBA licensed retail outlets beginning September 15.
Photo: Tracy McGrady visits with a boy in a refugee camp in eastern Chad.