Darfurians Raising Money to Help Greece

Jun 20, 2012

Following news of a pro-bailout victory in Greek national elections yesterday, a group of ordinary residents in the impoverished Sudanese region of Darfur have accelerated their efforts to raise emergency aid money for the Greek people.

Denizens of the war-torn region have been emotionally devastated by the suffering unleashed by Greece's sovereign debt crisis and have built a sophisticated humanitarian effort to assist the Greeks in their time of need. 

The Afro-Hellenic Emergency Relief Fund (AHERF) is now soliciting contributions throughout the region. The money from the fund will go directly to the Greek government treasury, where it will be used to pay down the country's excessive debt accumulated under previous corrupt governments.

They Are The World, They Are The People

Fatmya, a 23 year old refugee living in a camp outside the capital Al-Fashir heard about the Greek crisis from listening to BBC World Service Radio and realized immediately she had to help:

"My mother, brother, father, grandparents, and two sisters were killed during the war," she explains, "I live in this shelter with my two cousins, who also lost all of their family members. We have no possessions. We have just enough food to survive."

"But when I think about people my age in Greece, " Fatmya begins, breaking into tears, "When I think about those poor people... Those students...Receiving nearly free university educations and then having to take part-time jobs instead of full time jobs once they graduate- it really breaks my heart. Its crushing."

She says she is desperately trying to gather enough sticks to sell to a passing gum arabic merchant so she too can donate to the fund.

Omer - a 14 year old goat hearder from the Marrah Mountains - says he slaughtered one of his two goats this year, sold the meat, and gave the proceeds to AHREF:

'I faced a choice between eating meat this autumn, and helping to pay off the debt of a country that lied to its creditors so its citizens could retire from cushy government jobs at an early age. Of course it was a very easy decision. I just hate to see old Greeks have to work."

'Parent of Indolence'

Although young Dafurians are motivated primarily by a sense of solidarity with thier peers in Greece, older members of Darfuri society are driven to contribute by their reverence of ancient Greek culture.

"This is the civilization that gave us HomerAristotle, Plato, and Socrates. I think we owe them a little something, don't you?" says 65 year old Nimiri - a millet planter from Nyala.

"Where would we be without the Allegory of the Cave?" adds Zahya, a mother of 5 young children, who is selling her breast milk to neighbors to pay for her contribution.

Osman Hamid - the director of AHREF - says his organization has thus far collected $17,000 Sudanese Pounds (€5,000, $6350) in contributions from 700,000 donors. Distributions to the Greek government will begin within the coming days.

Hamid  himself is unemployed and stricken by hunger, but he says he is resisting the temptation to take a small percentage of the contributions to feed himself and his family.

"Whenever I get hungry and can't find food I always think to myself - at least I don't live in Greece."