For Immediate Release
May 29, 2009
Stella Kenyi, 202.481.8231
Eileen White Read, 202.741.6376
RELEASE: Basketball Star Tracy McGrady Funds School Serving Darfuri Refugee Children
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In honor of World Refugee Day, basketball star Tracy McGrady has made a donation to the Darfur Dream Team’s Sister Schools Program to support a Darfuri refugee camp school for one year. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, will use McGrady’s generous donation to begin building and rehabilitating a school this fall serving Darfuri children living in a refugee camp in Chad.
The U.N. World Refugee Day seeks to call attention to the plight of millions of refugees around the world with its theme, “Real People, Real Needs.” More than 250,000 people have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in Darfur, Sudan. Children make up more than 60 percent of the population in the Darfuri refugee camps and are facing major educational challenges, including a shortage of qualified teachers, poorly built school buildings, and lack of supplies.
McGrady’s donation will support the Ocampo School in Djabal camp, located in southeastern Chad, near the border with Darfur. Ocampo School is one of 12 refugee camp schools that the Darfur Dream Team aims to support in the 2009-2010 school year, at a cost of $57,000 per school. In addition to McGrady’s donation, more than 30 American high schools, middle schools, and universities recently joined together to raise funds to support a second school.
“I’m thrilled to join all of these U.S. schools in the effort to raise money so that students in the Darfuri refugee camps will have better facilities, teachers, and more supplies,” said McGrady, who visited schools in the Djabal refugee camp during a trip to Chad in 2007.
The Darfur Dream Team partners include the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); USA for UNHCR, the Enough Project; Participant Media’s Darfur Now Social Action Campaign; TakePart.com, the Education Partnership for Children in Conflict, co-founded by Angelina Jolie and Gene Sperling; Facing History and Ourselves; and i-ACT. The partnership includes several other professional basketball players including Baron Davis, Derek Fisher, Luol Deng, Jermaine O’Neal, and Etan Thomas.
The program aims to improve the education of Darfuri students living in camps, through the construction and rehabilitation of school buildings, teacher training, and provision of sports equipment and other school supplies; and to foster cross-cultural relationships and mutual understanding between American and Darfuri refugee students through letter exchanges and video blogging.
John Prendergast, Co-founder of the Enough Project said, “This generous donation is just the beginning for the Darfur Dream Team. We're seeking the involvement of many more schools throughout the US and Europe as well as many more NBA players to help create sustained relationships with the students in the refugee camps." Prendergast along with Enough Advisor Omer Ismail traveled with Tracy McGrady to Djabal refugee camp.
The Sister Schools Program‘s web site, www.darfurdreamteam.org, includes an itemized registry that allows schools, basketball players and their teams, companies, and the general public to see the resources and supplies needed by Darfuri refugee camp schools and donate toward items of their choice. Items needed range from textbooks to teacher training to sports equipment; individuals can even donate toward the actual construction of school buildings in the camps.
The Darfur Dream Team’s Sister Schools Program links American middle schools, high schools, and universities with schools in the Darfuri refugee camps in eastern Chad. U.S sister schools will raise funds to improve the education of their Darfuri peers through the construction and rehabilitation of school buildings and by providing supplies, sports equipment, and teacher training. The program will also foster cross-cultural relationships and mutual understanding between U.S. and Darfuri refugee students through letter exchanges and video blogging. The Sister Schools Program is a dynamic partnership involving professional basketball stars Tracy McGrady, Derek Fisher, Baron Davis, Luol Deng, Etan Thomas, and Jermaine O'Neal; United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR);USA for UNHCR, the Enough Project; Participant Media; TakePart; Education Partnership for Children in Conflict, co-founded by Angelina Jolie and Gene Sperling; Facing History and Ourselves; and i-ACT. The partnership will expand to include additional professional basketball players. More than 100 U.S. schools have signed up to participate in the program. For more information about the Darfur Dream Team’s Sister Schools Program, see www.darfurdreamteam.org or contact Stella Kenyi at [email protected].
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. To set up an interview, go to www.enoughproject.org, or contact Eileen White Read, 202-641-0779, [email protected]
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