I became active in the Darfur movement in late 2004. I did not know exactly how I’d be able to participate in alleviating what was and continues to be overwhelming human suffering. I just knew I needed to act.
One of the very first campaigns I helped create and organize was a 100-Day Fast for Darfur. My sister Rachel and I thought fasting would be a good way to connect people with the issue, while at the same time fundraise for direct assistance for the survivors. I had no idea how deep of an experience it was going to be for me and for the many people that participated in that and other fasts we organized since.
2013 is considered the 10th anniversary of the start of the crisis in Darfur. After ten years, millions of people continue to live in internal and refugee camps, with new generations of Darfuri children knowing no other life than the life of a refugee or IDP. Fighting, killing, and displacement continues in Darfur and is also happening in other areas of Sudan. When I started working on the peace for Darfur movement, I never thought that in 2013 I would be organizing another fast to offer hope and support to a population that continues to be besieged.
Fasting can be powerful. Clearly, for us in the United States and other well-off countries, it is not necessarily dangerous or even a sacrifice. We know that at any moment, we can walk into our kitchen or direct our car to the nearest drive-thru, and our “hunger” will be taken care of. It is meaningful, though, because it makes us think about something we take for granted, when our next meal will be. For those that fast without an option, the question is much more urgent: Will there be a next meal for me and my children?
I am lucky that over the years I have also been able to focus on the beauty and hope that exists in the communities of survivors from Darfur. They are hopeful and actively involved in creating a better future for their children. They value education and sports, and they are excited about connecting with the rest of the world.
The 2013 100-Day Fast for Darfur is about connecting. It’s about connecting as communities and as individuals. It’s about saying “10 years is enough.” Join me in fasting and connecting with our Darfuri friends that have lost so much–but who have so much more to offer. I promise you it will be an experience you won’t forget.
Please join our 100-Day Fast for Darfur.
Locust is believed to be the most devastating insect to plants and some crops all over the world. But here the refugee children have a different view of the locust. They believe that it’s a free source of the protein. Here outside the refugee camp, hundreds of boys went hunting for it. They hope that the locust flock remain here more few days. The pictures show the children at war with the locust. The battle field is two kilometer outside the camp.
Good luck to everyone.
The team visits Obama School on cleaning day, Gabriel speaks with Adam about the hope for return and we catch some Darfur United hopefuls on the pitch.
I haven’t had much of a chance to write anything since we arrived here in Chad. There has been so much to do, from always trying to get the best shot to trying to effectively convey what went on each day in a 2-minute video that won’t be too expensive to upload via satellite, since we don’t reliably have wireless internet.
I want to capture every moment, and I’m even trying to perfect shooting video with one hand while I shoot stills over my shoulder with the other. It’s not easy. Nothing about this expedition is easy.
Yet, at the same time – it is. Our journey is over half over, and before long we will be returning to the United States. To our families and friends. To our familiar way of life. The hardships we endure here are so short-lived in comparison to that of the people we’ve met.
I tend to deal with everything with a very dark sense of humor, cracking jokes to make light of some of the worst situations – yet on this trip I have found myself utterly speechless on many occasion. When Umbda or Abdulaziz or anyone with a story to tell begins to speak, a silence befalls the group and we listen, hypnotized, until the last word. There are no jokes here – neither are there answers, easy solutions, or in some cases much hope. Yet the human spirit fights on.
This week I have beared witness to some of the bravest people on earth looking into a camera and telling their stories. Stories that could get them killed. Stories we’d like to turn away from and not hear. Stories that show us humans can be cruel and evil to one another.
Sure, I miss the comforts of home.
I’m certain they do as well.
Mothers, fathers, and teachers have been telling me that they can only maintain hope because of the hope their children represent. While in the camps, they want their children to grow strong and educated, so that they can be the future of Darfur. They would tell me this back in 2005, during my first visit, and they still tell me this now, at the end of 2011, on my eleventh visit. How much longer will this hope last?
As the years go by, they are still here – most of them. Some, especially boys, give up on finding a future here, so they go in to
Darfur to look for a road that might be longer than the length of a refugee camp. For many, the road ends up being very short, since the insecurity and violence is worst for combatant-age boys and young men.
We spent only two days in camp Goz Amer, and I leave with so many mixed feelings. Our friendships and connections are stronger, but that means knowing more of their stories and caring more about them, their families, and their individual and collective hopes.
Next up is camp Djabal. I have deep friendships there, and many people in the U.S. have connected with and also care for many of the refugees from that camp. Again, mixed feelings. I can’t wait to see Rahma, Ali, Buseina, and others from that crew. It also pains me to go there knowing that — they are still there. These kids are bright, beautiful people that want so much out of life. What will happen if, or when, they find out that they can only dream, if they keep their dreams within the camp.
“Angels in the Sand” is the story of the people of Darfur, in the refugee camps in Sudan and Chad, who have endured atrocities and hardships most of us would be unable to even imagine. The animated slideshow provides a glimpse into the consequences of one of the darkest chapters in human history. But it also shows another side of
the story which is its real essence – the spirit of the brave Darfuris, the dreams and hopes of the beautiful children, and the epic struggle by human rights groups like i-ACT to ensure that the candles of hope keep burning in this rugged land.
Every photo in the slideshow has a story to tell – whether it’s the picture of the refugee mother cradling cradling her baby, who chooses education for her children over her own needs, or the picture of beaming face of the refugee child who proudly shows off her sketches. They portray a story of pain, loss, and despair – but also more important: one of resilience and hope.
The slideshow is interspersed with facts and actions through which we encourage the visitors to not only be aware but also to take a stand and promote activism. We believe that correctly showcasing a humanitarian situation and encouraging global public action has the potential to deter such human rights abuses from continuing. Our
multimedia campaign is a humble initiative to provide such a platform. We dream of a future when the collective voice of humanity would silence the sound of the guns and the roar of the bombers.
Subhajit Choudhury is with the Olivewave Team. They believe “the aim of all social movements, uprisings or campaigns for change by people is to create a better world for themselves and their next generations. The final culminating result of all efforts would lead to a world that symbolizes harmony and peace. Olive is the color that signifies growth, harmony and peace. Today we try to provide a unified platform to all the waves that encompass the dream of a single peaceful world” – The Olive World.