i-ACT’s mission first and foremost is to bring forward the voice of the refugee and create real and meaningful relationships between advocates and those displaced by violence that inspire action. Yuen-Lin calls this the Culture of Participation. I truly feel that one of our supporting goals is to aid in the creation of a new generation of leaders who will focus on preventing mass atrocities and genocide and work to create peace before thousands are killed and millions are displaced (Reason #63). These will be Darfurian, American, European, African, Central and South American…it will be a melting pot of leaders focused on equality and justice.
This next generation of leaders are now part of the first ever movement to end a genocide while it continues. Many began advocating for Darfur in middle or high school and continue as university students as part of human rights clubs and STAND chapters. They focus not only Darfur but Congo, Burma, and other “hotspots.” Their course in life has forever been changed because of their participation and they are now international relations majors who aim to be leaders in the United Nations.
One such leader is Bussina (Reason #64), a Darfur refugee living in eastern Chad. She already challenges the status quo. During the Darfur Refugee Town Hall, she stood up with strength and said that many of the fathers in the camp don’t want girls to attend school, but that they mothers encourage them too. The men, at least those who understand English, shifted uneasily. It was a courageous move. She speaks of human rights and justice frequently and is already a leader in her school and community. She also played soccer with Gabriel and the boys yesterday, something I have never seen a girl do here before, and is captain of her net ball (volleyball) team. I believe that, if we can help her, Bussina can be more than the Doctor she hopes to be. She can work as a community leader representing her people and civil society at high levels in the international community.
Sitting here, I can picture it. One day Bussina, Noemi (Gabe’s daughter), Nikki from Mira Costa High School, and Zach from ‘Iolani School will work together to find innovative solutions to the world’s humanitarian challenges… can you see it?