After sitting here for a while in my comfortable living room, fingers hovering over my keyboard, I tried eagerly to come up with some compelling testimony of why I’m a Darfur/Sudan activist. It’s the moment that I realized that while I’m in my comfortable living room, there are men, women, and children half a world away in refugee camps because their homes, villages, and lives have been destroyed that I realize that it doesn’t matter how compelling my testimony is, simply that it exists.
So, why did I join SGN? I came from a very small, three stoplight town in Central Virginia and moved to a large city to attend college almost two years ago. I wasn’t even 18 yet and still had a lot of “figuring out” to do about myself and what my calling was. Once I began to experience university life, I, in turn, began experiencing different cultures, religions, and overall ways of life. These unique experiences led to my declaration of an International Social Justice Studies major as well as the opening of my naïve, small town girl eyes to the troubles of the world. I learned about the war in Sudan and immediately thought to myself “What is happening to all the survivors? Where do they go when their homes are demolished? Who is helping them?” These questions burned in my mind as I searched for answers. Soon, I became involved in a few humanitarian organizations, but I never really felt like I was contributing enough.
Recently, I came across Stop Genocide Now and I was immediately hooked on this organization.The overwhelming sense of genuine concern for the people of Darfur drew me in like a moth to a flame. I felt like I had finally found a place that I could put my talents to work in order to help the Darfuri people who’ve been displaced from their villages. One thing I find especially distinctive about SGN is the i-ACT trips to the refugee camps. I’ve watched every single video and read every single blog post by the members of the team while on the ground (and sometimes in the air) in Chad. Seeing everything from the heart wrenching testimony of a woman who lost her family to twin boys (pictured left) playing with toy dinosaurs and cars made me feel like this team is truly dedicated to its work.
Since being introduced to SGN I’ve become more inspired than ever to step up my game and take a stand for the people of Darfur. Unlike many of the SGN team members, I have never been to the refugee camps. I have never seen firsthand the struggles, pain, tears, and bloodshed of the people of Darfur. I’ve never spoken with a Darfurian woman who lost her entire family, nor have I hugged an orphaned child living in a refugee camp. Even though I’m a newbie, being a part of this team strengthens me in ways I can’t put into words.
In just a few days, the i-ACT Expedition #10 team will be delivering Kindles to refugees. In Stacey’s blog post, she mentioned that despite needing medical attention, many of the children asked for books again and again. To desire knowledge over medical conditions requiring immediate attention is a true testament to just how special these children are. I only wish I could be there in person to see their faces light up when they are presented with the Kindles. The refugees will be able to have access to plentiful reading material in multiple languages, something many of them have never had before. To understand the joy this will bring the refugees in spite of the whirlwind of chaos and tragedy around them is to truly understand why I am an activist. I believe that if we can bring happiness to just one person affected by the war in Darfur, we have succeeded. But if we can reach one person, we can’t be stopped. Why stop our activism? We must not let the people of Darfur down when they need us most.
I look forward to being a part of this team and especially hearing updates from the i-ACT 10 team on their upcoming journey.