Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Udihiya project: Suggestions and voting for 2009

We are in the process of voting for this year's project. Please send in your votes! We have a good list of diverse choices this year. As you reflect about what you want to vote for, please ask yourselves, "what will really empower people on the ground in the long-term?".

From the list of suggestions below I see that this year we are moving away from distributing materials to things such as trainings (i.e., the workshop and training of journalists) and insuring access to free and independent information (radio Dabanga, training journalists from the camps as well as local theater groups and expression through art and culture). Please remember that giving people life-long skills and knowledge is a much more powerful tool than a one-time act of charity. Knowledge and training will take people very far.

We are voting for the following projects:
  1. Arts theater group: There are two groups that could use some support and focus on popular education theater, music, dance etc...called Tawasil Arts Group and Astigha Al Tufula. Both develop and perform great theater pieces on issues such as domestic violence, public health, relationships between elders and youth. They are led by young people some of whom are displaced and live in the camps. They perform these pieces all over Darfur, the Sudan really and also in the camps. They also write and perform songs about what is happening in Darfur. 
  2. Radio station: Radio Dabanga needs support with training more people inside the displacement camps to become radio journalists. This is the only source of independent news from Darfur and covered by Darfurians. Check out Radio Dabanga's website at:
  3. Youth workshop: Supporting a youth workshop where youth are being trained to make furniture, sew and given skills for income generating activities.
  4. Visual artists: The support would be to buy art equipment and materials such as, canvas, paint, brushes, etc and to support a workshop for artists from around Sudan based in Khartoum. 
  5. Speech therapy institute: Support a Speech therapy outreach project in one of the camps in Khartoum. Collaborating with AL Anees institute for speech and Language services.

Udihiya project: 2008

Clothes delivered to children in a Darfurian refugee camp (Udhiya Project 2008) 

In 2008 the Udhiya Project delivered 400 pieces of clothes to children to Sakali refugee camp, 20 km South of Nyala in Darfur. The Project is thankful to its volunteers on the ground who were able to make such a delivery possible regardless of strict security regulations inside the camps that make access to refugees and delivery of relief material complicated. Our contact used the help of a national organization to deliver the clothes--National Organizatin for Care and Development (NOCD) specializes in giving internally displaced persons skills to help them generate income. He told project members that: "it was not an easy task to get the clearance for these cloths to go to the camp. You would not believe how difficult it was for the organization to convince the National Security about their good intentions. However, it was a great idea to serve the children."

Community members receiving the children's clothes (Udhiya Project: 2008)

Udihiya project: 2007

Darfurian children in a primary school displaying their drawings after receiving school supplies (Udhiya Project 2007)

Darfur’s communities are facing many challenges linked to the conflict and instability the region is facing. The educational infrastructures are extremely under-resourced, especially in areas where populations have been displaced and are living in refugee camps since the conflict started in 2003. Most schools are makeshift structures built next to refugee camps to accommodate children living in the camps. The schools are often run on a voluntary basis or with the support of national and/or international NGOs. They lack basic materials and equipment such as text books, stationery, desks and chairs, chalk, electricity and running water.

In 2007, the Udhiya Project contributed donations towards stationery and toys for a primary school in Otash refugee camp 13 km north of Nyala, in Darfur. 


About Us

School supplies delivered to a school in a refugee camp in Darfur (Udhiya Project 2007)

The Udhiya Project was started in 2007 by a small group of 15 (mostly) Sudanese friends in the Diaspora (United States, Norway, U.K. and France) who wanted to contribute their Eid Zakat to a community in Sudan in need of social or humanitarian support. The objective is to give a collective donation to one community or project so as to increase the impact of our Udhiya contribution. Every year, at the end of Ramadan we start to send suggestions for the next year’s project. There are no regional restrictions and we are open to new ideas as long as we can identify volunteers on the ground to implement them without overhead costs. After identifying a few possible projects, members of the group vote and a final decision is made. We work with volunteers based in Sudan who are willing to identify the needs and deliver funds or materials to communities.