By Peter Magai Bul
When I came to the United States ten years ago, I asked myself this question: How can I use my time, share my experiences and implement my dreams? The generation known as the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan, a generation of which I am a part, suffered, escaped and survived the horrible genocide in Southern Sudan. Fortunately, we were welcomed in American with an open heart. Like many of the Lost Boys and Girls, I try to do all I can to make my life better and I work hard to support my family. We also have obligations to our larger community. We wish to:
1. bring the world’s awareness to Sudan's longest-running conflict in Africa (which claimed over 2 million lives and displaced an estimated 4 million people) with the goal of achieving long-lasting peace in Sudan,
2. break the circle of poverty and dependence by working with Sudanese outside of Sudan, local villagers within Sudan, and friends of Sudan to promote educational, social, and economic projects in our homeland, and
3. use our experiences and lesson learned to teach, inspire, and encourage millions of people around the world to embrace the spirit of unity, enabling us all to assemble as allies and friends as one global community.
In order for us to accomplish these goals, I have committed to sharing my story. I have met with concerned political and religious leaders and celebrities of all kinds, making them aware of the suffering in Sudan. I have a special interest in meeting with young people. Children are the best agents of change in any society. Engaging youth in projects that give them self-confidence, self-discipline, the strength to love one another, and the compassion to engage with issues of peace and justice in their own communities and our global community is vital in helping them grow up as responsible, democratic citizens.
Throughout the development project of Pongborong Primary School in Southern Sudan, hundreds of youth from the Chicago area and around the US have stood by me in these difficult times. The children of Karen and Jordan Mozer are two particularly committed young people. These young ladies undertook projects for their Bat Mitzvas to raise nearly $20,000 for Pongborong Primary School. I strongly believe they are inspired and responsible young women who will make a real impact on their generation.
Impressed by the success of their sister Eliza Mozer, who raised nearly $10,000 for Pongborong Primary School in 2008, Chloe and Isabel Mozer (who just turned 14) approached me with their idea to continue their sister's project for their Bat Mitzvah. Eliza’s fundraising provided uniforms for about half of the 800 students at Pongborong Primary School and contributed to the construction of a permanent classroom. Chloe and Isabel have already exceeded their goal of $5000 and have raised nearly $8000.
Family members and friends who supported their Bat Mitzvah fundraising project empowered these young ladies to work toward real change in Southern Sudan. The ACDA is very proud of the strengthening relationship between the youth in Southern Sudan and America.
To those who are inspired by these American youth and those who have been supporting me for the last ten years, I deeply thank you all. You have challenged me to stay the course and continue sacrificing for change in my beloved village of Wangulei in Southern Sudan's Jongulei state.
In less than three months, the people of Southern Sudan will finally have the opportunity to determine their country's destination by voting whether to separate or unite Sudan, a fulfillment of the agreement set in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which the North and South signed in 2005. This agreement came about as a result of the pressure and support of allies like the United States. Please stay tuned for more details about this.
In the mean time, feel free to visit Chloe and Isabel Mozer's fundraising page and Pongborong Primary School’s web site.