Throughout high school I was part of a club called Gems NOT Genocide. Originally, the students in the clubs made jewelry and sold it locally. The money made from selling this jewelry would then be donated to the Darfur Peace and Development Organization. The Darfur Peace and Development Organization was a non-profit organization that used the money that it collected to help the people of the Darfur region through their time of genocide. About two years later the organization’s leaders changed and the new leaders were very corrupt. This caused Gems NOT Genocide to have to change the organization that we were donating to.
As the treasurer and co-vice president of the club I was a part of finding the new organization to donate to. The Gems NOT Genocide board all found several organizations that we would have liked to donate to and so when we met to discuss it we read through all of the options weighing the pros and cons. This process took several weeks of editing Google document after Google document in order to eliminate different organizations from the running of becoming the new organization that we would donate to as a club.
Together we found one organization that changed the way we were looking at the whole Darfuri conflict in general, this is the Darfur Dream Team. We originally were just sending the money that we made to an organization that provides temporary relief for the people who were suffering from the Darfuri genocide. After reading more about the Darfur Dream Team we realized that our real mission as students should be to help provide long-term help for the people of Darfur. The Darfur Dream Team builds schools, trains teachers, and sets up pen pal programs with the students in the refugee camps and students in the United States. This became the perfect organization for use to donate our money too. However, we still had to make sure that this organization was legitimate and going to last, especially after the previous experience we had. We had to do plenty of research about the people who started the organization and the people who run it now. We then contacted the people who work there and set up a Skype call between their board and ours. This call lasted for several hours in order for us to understand exactly what they are doing and plan to do in the future. After this call our entire board was convinced that this was the perfect organization for us to donate to in accordance with what we wanted for Gems NOT Genocide as a club.
Our research definitely paid off in the end. We have made a personal connection with the students in the refugee camps. They say that the $8,000 that we were able to donate, from several different fundraisers, is making the refugee camp feel more like home with the help of the schools. As a result of this research, Gems NOT Genocide and the Darfur Dream Team will be able to help many people that are victims of the Darfur Genocide today and moving into the future.