They are far from Africa, but after learning about the problems of families fleeing from violence in Sudan in their AP history class, it became important that students raise money for Darfur relief as a response to what they learned.
Abdul Saeed, 17, Taimoor Akhtar, 18, Geraldine Ojukwu, 17, and Kira Schwartz, 17, decided to do something to help Darfur refugees. They formed a club, the Darfur Outreach Organization, and through creative fundraising and a lot of work, they raised money for educational supplies for the refugee children. i
Two years ago, the club started on their mission when they learned about Sudan in their world history class. Awareness of war and major genocide troubled them. So their teacher, Gray Taylor, sparked their interest by inviting a speaker from the Darfur Dream Team at the Washington DC headquarters.
“The children of these communities are learning in tents, with one teacher, and barely any supplies. We help to provide them with small things like erasers, notebooks, pencils and things that will help them get a better education,” said Saeed, president of the Darfur Outreach Organization at the high school.
The Dream Team Sister School Program was started originally by NBA player Tracy McGrady after his trip to the Darfuri refugee camps in 2007. After witnessing the destruction and hopelessness of the refugee children, he knew he needed to help. In 2009, the program began.
At Mount Olive High School, what began as a small club has grown to over 25 members throughout the school. There are 300 schools involved in the Darfur Dream Team program nationwide; the Darfur Outreach Organization at Mount Olive is the only one in Morris County at this time.