FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jonathan Hutson, 202-386-1618, firstname.lastname@example.org
RELEASE: Tracy McGrady’s Darfur Dream Team Raises $600,000 for Twelve Schools Serving Refugee Children
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Launched in March 2009, the Darfur Dream Team’s Sister Schools Program, co-founded by NBA star Tracy McGrady and John Prendergast of the Enough Project, has raised more than $300,000 to support six schools in Djabal refugee camp in eastern Chad. The Darfur Dream Team has also received additional financial pledges totaling $300,000 for six schools in a second camp. The funds and pledges received by McGrady and the Darfur Dream Team will provide 22,000 children in the twelve Darfuri refugee camp schools with access to quality education.
McGrady was inspired to travel to the camps in 2007 with Prendergast after speaking about the crisis with NBA legend Dikembe Mutumbo. Upon their return, McGrady and Prendergast co-founded the Darfur Dream Team’s Sister Schools Program.
“After spending time with children in the refugee camps, I was humbled and compelled to share their stories with the world,” said McGrady of the New York Knicks. “I wanted to do something different in order to help them. That is why we created the Darfur Dream Team.”
Since the Darfur crisis began, nearly 3 million people have been displaced by the conflict. More than 250,000 Darfuris have become refugees in neighboring Chad. Children make up more than 60 percent of the population in the Darfuri refugee camps. They face major educational challenges, including a shortage of qualified teachers, poorly built school buildings, and lack of supplies. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, will use the Darfur Dream Team’s generous donation to begin building and rehabilitating schools serving Darfuri children living in the refugee camps.
The Darfur Dream Team is a dynamic partnership of organizations and professional basketball players that aims to provide Darfuri refugee youth with access to education and to connect these students with their American peers through video-blogging and letter exchanges. This innovative program aims to empower Darfuri youth as community leaders and create a lasting peace across the region.
To date, over 350 U.S. middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities in 26 states have signed up for the program. U.S. sister schools are raising awareness and funds to support the education of their Darfuri peers.
“American students participating in the program are making an impact on the lives of Darfuri children, and also taking the opportunity to develop life-long bonds with their Darfuri peers,” said Prendergast, co-founder of the Darfur Dream Team.
McGrady continues to reach out to professional basketball players to make the crisis in Darfur a priority. Baron Davis, Derek Fisher, Luol Deng, Etan Thomas, and Jermaine O’ Neal have joined him as Darfur Dream Team co-captains. Together, they plan to launch in-arena activities with their respective NBA teams to support the initiative. In addition to the NBA players, principal partner organizations in the Darfur Dream Team include: USA for UNHCR, the Enough Project, Participant Media, 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; Participant Media; 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 100 U.S. schools have signed up to participate in the program.
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 learn more about Enough and what you can do to help, go to www.enoughproject.org.