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Robert Fox

Canadian students for Darfur

October 4, 2007

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Since February 2004, more than two million men, women and children have fled a bloody conflict in Darfur, Africa to live on the edge of despair in crowded refugee camps in Sudan.

“Darfur is the largest humanitarian disaster on the planet at this time,” says Robert Fox, executive director of Oxfam Canada.

The situation spurred SFU international student Clement Abas Apaak (below), who is from Ghana, to launch Canadian Students for Darfur in 2005. With assistance from SFU President Michael Stevenson, Apaak, who was then president of the SFU Student Society, launched the organization during the President’s Speaker Series, at which humanitarian Roméo D’Allaire spoke. Today, the organization spans more than 20 Canadian university campuses and has collected $26,655 for Oxfam’s work in Darfur.

“For a group that isn’t even recognized as an official non-profit agency and is run by student volunteers—well, Oxfam is excited and so am I,” says Apaak, who is completing a PhD in archeology.

“From my point of view, this is just another reflection of what SFU stands for,” he says. “A global conscience.”

Oxfam uses the group’s funds to provide clean water, sanitation and public health services to more than 500,000 people in the refugee camps. “We spend millions of dollars a year in Darfur,” says Fox.

“The $26,665 is an important contribution. The exciting part of the work that Canadian Students for Darfur are doing is that they’re not just fundraising, they’re raising awareness, mobilizing Canadian support for action around Darfur and demonstrating solidarity.”

During this fall’s Clubs Day at the Burnaby campus, Canadian Students for Darfur signed up an additional 160 SFU students to assist in the cause. To help, contact 778-895-9242 or visit www.csfdarfur.net.
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