WASHINGTON, D.C. -To commemorate UN World Refugee Day on June 20, Georgetown and Duke Universities’ students and alumni, businessman Ted Leonsis, and NBA star Tracy McGrady have jointly announced that they have raised funds to sponsor a Darfuri refugee camp school in Chad.
Georgetown and Duke Universities launched a partnership to support the Darfuri schools at their January 30 basketball game at the Verizon Center. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were among the fans in attendance, along with Leonsis and McGrady.
Georgetown and Duke students and alumni raised $21,661 at the game, which was matched by Ted Leonsis, a member of the Georgetown University’s Board of Directors and owner of the Washington Wizards, Mystics, and Capitals. McGrady then donated the remaining funds needed to support Aboutalib A, a school in Chad’s Goz Amer refugee camp. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, will oversee the delivery of the aid.
Forty three million people are currently uprooted around the world; UNHCR provides assistance to the displaced in 110 countries. UN World Refugee Day raises awareness for the millions of refugees around the world, including the 2 million people who have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in Darfur, Sudan. Children constitute more than 60 percent of the population in the Darfuri refugee camps. They face major educational challenges, such as poorly built school buildings, a shortage of qualified teachers, and a lack of supplies.
After visiting the Darfuri refugee camps in 2007, McGrady and John Prendergast of the Enough Project co-founded the Darfur Dream Team to address the challenges. The Darfur Dream Team is a dynamic partnership of organizations and professional basketball players working together on the Sister Schools Program, an initiative linking American middle schools, high schools, and universities with schools in 12 Darfuri refugee camps in eastern Chad
The program, launched in March 2009, raises funds for the construction and rehabilitation of school buildings, and provides teacher training, school supplies and sports equipment to the Darfuri refugee camps. More than 200 U.S. schools are participating, and more than $649,000 in donations and pledges have been raised since its launch.
NBA stars Derek Fisher, Baron Davis, Luol Deng, Etan Thomas, and Jermaine O’Neal have joined McGrady as co-captains of the Darfur Dream Team. Additional partners include USA for UNHCR, the Enough Project, TakePart.com, the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, Facing History and Ourselves, and I-ACT.
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; TakePart.com; 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 350 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, and the areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. 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 Jonathan Hutson, 202-386-1618, [email protected].