Camp Darfur is an interactive awareness and educational event that brings attention to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan, and gives individuals the opportunity to discover their ability and power to make a difference.
This traveling refugee camp raises awareness and examines Sudan’s Darfur region and its humanitarian crisis – genocide – by placing it in an historical context with Armenia, the Holocaust, Cambodia, and Rwanda. Camp Darfur empowers communities to raise their voices and take action for the individuals of Darfur.
Hosting Camp Darfur
Camp Darfur creates the space for you and your group to raise awareness, take action and get the rest of your community involved in human rights. It offers your group the opportunity to INTERACT with the community of Darfur! We encourage students to learn about each genocide represented and provide a host at each tent to peer educate. We would like you and your group to take the opportunity of having Camp Darfur on campus to create an event that will reach your target audience. Have music playing to attract those passing by, offer samples of refugee food, sign teachers or professors up to visit the Camp with their classes. Be creative! Together with Camp Darfur, your program, events and information will help to make the overall event interactive. Don’t forget to have activities available that allow your audience to take immediate action in helping the people of Darfur.
Currently, Camp Darfur is not funded by a grant or foundation. For now, we must ask host groups to help cover our expenses. We greatly appreciate any honorarium that groups can provide which goes directly towards improving the exhibit and ensuring that all our work continues. We are more than willing to help write proposals for local funding in your area. We’ve also created a new online tool to help you fundraise to cover expenses. You can set up a donation page for your school or community here!
Where has Camp Darfur been?
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The variety of these strong feelings permeated the inside of each tent. As students entered to hear the presentations, I watched their body language change from the typical adolescent stride to a retracted walk often seen when people enter a spiritual place. There was a kind of anxious reverence. When they exited the tents, their adolescent walk was slow to resume. As one would hope, their feelings and questions lingered, and it showed.
As I paid attention to students describing the various genocides, I heard a vulnerable and humbled quality in all of their voices. Whether they were describing the event or reading a first hand account, all were visibly shaken by what they were saying. Just as powerful were the reactions to the photos hanging on the walls—images of people who had lived and died in the various camps. The power of the material quite simply cut through the typical adolescent defenses and self-consciousness.
Wanting to do more, students at ‘Iolani School brought Camp Darfur to their campus. This tight-knit group of 10 students hosted over 1200 students, teachers, and community members during 2 days of Camp Darfur. They created individual name tags with an individual Darfuri for every visitor. They gave overviews of each genocide, discussed the children’s drawings, and gathered more than 700 signatures for both their Senators and President Obama. Here is one poem from a student:
I’m running through the jungle, fleeing, scared of the gun,
but when your whole country’s after you to where can you run?
I’m irate; my mind state is an angry attitude
at the false hope preached to me in empty platitudes.
At every single latitude, bullets fly through the sky.
Horseback attack forever burned in my mind’s eye.
I cry, why did I survive when the gun spat?
But it don’t matter cause I’ll die when they come back
mix feelings, hate, sorrow, anger and confusion,
is that God laughing at me or just the blood I’m losing.
Hallucinations, I see millions who don’t care;
they continue on with their lives completely unaware
of the things I’ve witnessed. You’ve seen it I’ve lived it:
my wife and children burning alive in a demon’s visit
and no one will ever hear about me when I die.
I’m just a lost scream in the statistic of this genocide
(written by Junior High student, Matt)
Erin writes in a reflection, “One of the most outstanding moments was when a jock and his friend were visiting the tent and were not really paying attention and by the end of me talking to them, they were both emotional. I could tell that they felt guilty for their ignorance and lack of taking action. After they looked at the photos for a few minutes, the jock turned to me and said, “What can I do to help?” That may not seem like much, but that meant the world to me. Our mission of Camp Darfur was to educate people about the genocide in Darfur and to see a high school jock, who knew nothing about the genocide, become a member of humanity, who thoroughly cares about the situation in Darfur, was amazing.”
Edina High School Seniors Organize Camp Darfur
‘To spread knowledge is to spread peace’. Those were the words inscribed by means of a Sharpie onto the inside of a linen tent. The message, surrounded by hundreds of other thoughtful messages, was inscribed on the canvas tents of Camp Darfur. Edina High School hosted the traveling exhibit on Monday, October 5, 2009. “Learning about past genocides sparked my interest in becoming more aware involved, in current world crisis,” says Jen Choi, a senior at Edina High School (EHS). Students were encouraged to ask questions and participate in short discussions before continuing on to the next tent. Seniors Shara Mohtadi and Emma Weisberg led the organization of the event, and they also reside over their newly founded STAND chapter. “Students are not only the leaders of tomorrow,” says Mohtadi, “but of today.” Students came out more aware than ever before, as many admitted to never having heard of the Armenian or Cambodian genocides. “If we can even change the perspective of one person,” says Weisberg, “Then it’s all worth it.” Hours of organization, two tents lost in transit and six hundred student audience members later, it was most definitely worth it.
- Shara Mohtadi and Sasha Rieland
Camp Darfur Returns to Idaho
Last week the University of Idaho Center for Volunteerism and Social Action got in touch with Stop Genocide Now in hopes of bringing the Camp Darfur tents back to the campus as it was such an eye opening event last year. We arranged a FedEx pick-up and within a couple of days five large boxes arrived.
I felt a bit overwhelmed at first as only a couple of us arrived in the morning to set the tents up between classes. However, I was quickly inspired by the number of students who stopped to ask us what we were doing which led into several great conversations about the hundreds of thousands of Darfuri people who have been murdered and the millions that have been driven out of their homes. I was even more inspired by the fellow students who stuck around and volunteered their time to help us set up the tents.
One thing that really stuck out and I keep going back to is the reaction one girl had after she went into the Darfur tent. She was astonished that this was going on and she had heard nothing about it. It really took me back that after five years people are still having this big surprise. I started to realize that it had been only a year ago that I knew nothing about the genocide in Darfur.
The few minutes of coverage the media provides on the lives being destroyed in Darfur is not early enough. It is up to people like you and me to let others know.
Camp Darfur in Santa Fe
“Camp Darfur came to Santa Fe at the beginning of December. Set up on the historic downtown plaza, it contrasted strangely with the first signs of Christmas; The large trees overhanging the tents were already festooned with multi-colored lights and people paraded past, their shopping bags filled with gifts. In the center of the Plaza is an obelisk on which there is a description of the Spanish conquest of the Native Americans from which the word /savage / has been chiseled out. Calling to mind the genocide of the Indian peoples, it was a powerful place for Camp Darfur. I remember particularly the individuals who wandered in at surprising moments–in the cold and in the dark–and expressed their thanks for the exhibit being here. Construction workers came down off their scaffolding at the Palace of the Governors to look and a policeman came by to say it was a great event.”
Camp Darfur at UIUC
“I was extremely moved and motivated by the Camp Darfur exhibit. It really illustrated the history of past genocides, and how “never again” continues to happen again and again. Yet in addition to the horrific images of death and destruction, Katie-Jay and Gabriel brought a sense of hope and optimism. In the online video clips from the refugee camps, I saw the bright, beautiful people of Darfur; their smiles and laughter, their colorful clothing and most of all, their human emotion. I saw the joy and sadness of an elderly woman as she caught a glimpse of her grandson via the webcam, an emotion any person, anywhere, could relate to. These people, in all their despair and desperation, have not at all given up hope to a future without genocide, and neither should we.”