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On World Refugee Day, Focusing on Schools and Solutions in Sudan

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On World Refugee Day, Focusing on Schools and Solutions in Sudan

Posted by John Prendergast on June 20, 2011

This piece co-authored with NBA star Luol Deng originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

Unfortunately, when we hear about Sudan these days, it is usually about the escalating crises between North and South Sudan and in Darfur. But as we pause to recognize the millions of refugees around the world today on World Refugee Day, we also want to point out that all is not gloom and doom. There are ways we all can get involved to make a difference in the lives of those forcibly uprooted from their homes in Sudan.
In refugee camps for people driven from their homes by the violence in Darfur, the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, and other aid agencies barely receive enough funds to provide food, water, medicine, and shelter for the refugees. Quality education often is a luxury that cannot be afforded.

That's where we come in.

Working with the Luol Deng Foundation, USA for UNHCR, the Enough Project, and other NBA stars like Tracy McGrady and Derek Fisher, we collaborated on launching the Darfur Dream Team Sister Schools Program, which helps provide a quality education to thousands of refugee students in schools in the Darfur camps in the neighboring country of Chad. Luol made this video about the Darfur Dream Team before one of his Chicago Bulls games.

Through our Sister Schools Program, the Darfur Dream Team connects middle school, high school and college students throughout the United States with schools in the refugee camps. American students raise funds to support education in the camps and also exchange photos, videos, and messages with their Darfuri peers, using satellite technology and a secure online social network.

You can get involved in the Darfur Dream Team and make a real difference in the lives of refugees from Darfur. We're going to keep working for peace through the Enough Project and its efforts to encourage an end to war. But the best way to provide immediate support to the survivors of the wars in Sudan is to help give them an education and real hope for their futures.

Luol Deng is a basketball star with the Chicago Bulls and founder of the Luol Deng Foundation.