May 11, 2010

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 80, Issue 15

One 'lost boy' is helping others in Sudan to a better life

An area in Sudan where one would need to dig a well to get to clean water. Photo by Maureen Lunn

An area in Sudan where one would need to dig a well to get to clean water. Photo by Maureen Lunn

Moses Agapito was only 9 years old when his village in Sudan was attacked by rebels, causing him to have to hide in the forests surrounding where he lived in order to survive. Eventually, unsure where his loved ones were, Moses made his way to Kenya leaving his home behind. Through the Refugee Resettlement Program ,which is sponsored by the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees was able to come to the U.S. During his time in the U.S. Moses was able to go to Mohawk Valley Community College and received a degree in Human Services.

When Moses went back to his village in Sudan he saw that even though the Civil War that had driven him from his home had ended, the people in his village were left in shambles. Women who are pregnant have no place to go to safely deliver their child, many end up having birthing issues and die as a result of improper care. Young children, and even adults, are uneducated and do not know how to read since there is no real education program. People in the village still have to walk miles each way to bring water into their village.

Moses knew he had to do something to help his village and came back to the U.S. to ask the citizens here to help raise money to build a school in village. The project, which is called the Freedom Project, grew from building a school, to also building several wells so villagers do not have to walk miles away for safe drinking water and a clinic so people can have safe medical care. Moses called it the Freedom Project because he believes that in order to be truly free one should be able to have an education and live a healthy life.

With the help of Matthew Guiffre and NU Alliance, Moses was able to come to Niagara University to talk to students about his experiences and how the project is going so far. With help from people all around New York, Moses has raised around $35,000 toward the project.

Though it seems like a good chunk of money, the entire project is going to cost about $200,000 all together. In a world where celebrities and NFL coaches are signing contracts for multi-million dollar deals, $200,000 becomes very small in comparison.

On Sunday, May 23 at noon at the Mohawk Valley Community College Utica campus there will be the first "Walk for Water" fundraiser. Participants will walk two miles to get an idea of how it would feel if they had to walk that far for water. All proceeds will go to the Freedom Project.

If anyone would like to donate money to the Freedom Project, checks can be written out to Notre Dame High School with "Freedom Project" in the memo line, and sent to:

Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School
2 Notre Dame Lane Utica , NY 13502.

Remember, ever single dollar counts. No donation is too small.

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