Darfur Family Reunited

A couple from Darfur currently residing in New York has reunited with their four-year-old daughter recently released from a refugee camp in Sudan.

It had been two-and-a-half years since the parents had seen their child. The mother described her ordeal as “very difficult…it’s a piece of your heart”.

The daughter continues to ask her mom and dad why she was “left behind”. Her father’s answer?

I tried to explain to her but I don’t know how to explain.

Update: Here is a video of the story.

Children of Darfur Refugees Named “Okambo”

Desmond-TutuInteresting story…

According to actress and Darfur advocate Mia Farrow, several Sudanese refugees in Chad have named their children “Okambo”in honor of the International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo – the man behind the issuance of an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir.

It appears that survivors of the Darfur genocide appreciate Moreno-Ocampo’s efforts just as much as many of us do.

Toys For Darfur

An inspiring story –

A five-year-old from Pennsylvania saw a news story about children in Darfur. Noticing that none of the children shown had any toys, Riley Hebbard took it upon herself to change that.

Riley’s Toys for Darfur was born – a toy drive aimed at ensuring every kid in Africa has a toy of their own.

Darfur’s Mothers

This past Sunday, we celebrated Mother’s Day.

Stop Genocide Now has gathered together testimonies of Darfurian mothers.

Some quotes which stood out –

Sometimes…I get together with friends to tell stories about Darfur, about the way life used to be…we keep telling stories, until, sometimes, we weep.

My children are my only hope.

I thank God for everything. It is part of life. We are still alive.

Please always put us in front of you, don’t let us fall behind.

The mother behind the first quote? Fourteen-year-old Farha – caretaker of three siblings.

Darfur Film Comes to Newport Beach

Refrigerators across the US are lined with the drawings of children – suns, flowers, rainbows, clouds, birds, and so on. Imagine if these drawings were replaced by pictures created by the children of Darfur. What would change?

There would be no suns, flowers, or rainbows. Rather, Darfur’s children draw what they see – war, violence, pain, and suffering.

Crayons and Paper, a documentary about the Darfur conflict’s impact on the children of the region told through their art, will be shown at this year’s Newport Beach Film Festival on April 30th.

Click here to learn more and to buy tickets.

“Innocence is the first casualty of war.”

Bringing Smiles to Congo’s Children

A group of performing clowns (creatively named Clowns Without Borders) plans to tour displacement camps in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Children make up more than 50% of the population of camps in eastern DRC. A spokesperson for Clowns Without Borders believes that the clowns may help the camps’ children “overcome their trauma”.

The group previously performed in Syria and Yugoslavia, where their smile-producing initiative was a success.

War: Through the Eyes of a Child

Flash back to your childhood when you drew pictures that your parents proudly displayed on the family refrigerator for all to see.

What did you draw in your pictures? Your family? Friends? Pets? House? Birds, rainbows, and flowers?

Now take a look at some pictures drawn by children growing up in Darfur.

What do you see? Soldiers. Weapons. Blood. Violence. Destruction.

With the Darfur crisis now six years too long, there are kids in refugee camps who have experienced nothing but war for their entire lives. They draw what they know – and what they know is war.

In the words of one child artist –

It is very kind to send us food, but this is Africa and we are used to being hungry. What I ask is that you please take the guns away from the people who are killing us.