Clubs collaborate to raise money for Darfuri sister school


Seniors Nikhilesh Sharma, Bill Milanick, Sachin Nair, Jack Schoelz, Emily Smith and Ukiah Johnson discuss plans for the sister school Choula A at last Wednesday’s Global Issues meeting. Photo by Avantika Khatri

Kirsten Buchanan

Seniors Nikhilesh Sharma, Bill Milanick, Sachin Nair, Jack Schoelz, Emily Smith and Ukiah Johnson discuss plans for the sister school Choula A at the Global Issues meeting Wednesday, Feb. 29. Photo by Avantika Khatri
During the summer Global Issues began planning to sponsor Choula A, a school in a Darfuri refugee camp in southeastern Chad known as Goz Amer.
Through Darfur Dream Team, a program initiated by NBA player Tracy McGrady that matches schools in the U.S. with those in Darfuri refugee camps, the club hopes to collaborate with others to raise awareness and funds for expenses like exercise books and chalk.
Sixty percent of Darfuri refugees are children, according to Darfur Dream Team. Many have lost one or both parents in the conflicts.
Global Issues, by collaborating with interested clubs such as International Cultural Organization and Student Environmental Coalition, hopes to hold events to raise money for the sister school. ICO and SEC have already held bake sales for Choula A.
“This year, Global Issues adopted a sister school for all of Rock Bridge,” said Emily Smith, one of the four co-presidents of Global Issues.  “The kids there are fleeing the genocide that’s occurring there.”
The conflict resulted in more than 300,000 deaths, and more than 3,000,000 people displaced from and within Darfur. Many have fled to Chad. Those that survived the journey comprise the Goz Amer refugee camp.
Their lives in refugee camps are plagued by extreme shortages of the basic necessities of life, such as shelter, food, water, sanitation and education. Darfur Dream Team on its website states the best way to solve any of these problems is through education.
“What we’re doing is trying … to  just get Rock Bridge pumped up that we have a sister school,” Smith said.
The club has many events planned to raise money, including bake sales, an interclub dodge ball tournament on April 12 and also a cricket tournament on April 21. Club sponsor Gregory Kirchhofer is excited to help Global Issues with all of their events.
“I follow what the kids want to do. The students wanted to do this one,”‘ Kirchhofer said. “You can try to be of help in a small way in small places [such as Darfur] and that’s probably a more effective way of being of service than trying to solve all the world’s problems.”
Smith is also eager about this cause in particular because she hopes it will leave a legacy not only on the sister school but also for RBHS.
“We had lots of meetings this summer thinking about what we wanted to do, and we decided this would be a really cool thing because this would be something that we wanted to continue after we left,” Smith said. ‘It’s something that’s more permanent so we can see a difference that we’re making, and we’ve always thought that having a sister school would be cool.”
By Kirsten Buchanan