Surviving Darfur

Over a dozen University of Calgary students are camping out this week to raise awareness for the situation in Darfur, Sudan.

The Student Displacement for the Sudan Crisis Group is trying to understand what it is like to be without a home.

“It’s easy to live in a tent for a week, we know we have a bed to go home to,” claimed Jayne Werry, who helped organize the event.

The students have a lot planned for their campsite on the south lawn. They are selling green “Save Darfur” bracelets for $4 with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. The Red Cross is funding refugee camps for the displaced Sudanese.

Four different clubs have shared the burden of planning the weeklong event.

“It’s been an amazing team effort,” Werry said.

Darfur, a region in western Sudan, fell victim to drought two years ago. Due to the shortage of resources, farmers and tribes are being forced off the land. The Sudanese government is being accused of funding a militia group known as the Janjaweeds to combat groups of rebel Sudanese people fighting to keep their homes.

At this point, more than two million Sudanese people have been displaced, most fleeing to Chad, on Sudan’s western border. They are unable to return home and will not be able to harvest their crops there, leaving them without food or shelter.

“We really want people to be aware of the fact that two million people are homeless and starving,” said one camper who wished to remain anyonymous.

The eyewitness reports collected by groups Sudan’s Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International claim that Janjaweeds and government military groups have torched villages, raped, murdered and branded those living there. The United Nations has called the situation genocide and is attempting to hold Sudan accountable by filling a claim to the International Criminal Court.

“We’re not trying to get too involved in the politics, we’re just trying to support the refugees,” said the student.

The campers will have a booth in MacEwan Student Centre April 7-8 with a petition to sign that will be sent to the Premier. They are also running an outdoor stage on April 8, featuring live music and guest speaker, Simon Ajack, a sponsored student who lived in a refugee camp in the area.

The Student Displacement Group encourages others to come out and show their support with the slogan “Don’t feel guilty for inaction, TAKE ACTION!”

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