South Sudan Uses Hoops for Hope
“We hope to use sport as a means to end conflict,” said sports minister Makuac Teny. “It can help to get the young people to compete in matches instead of fighting, and so to neutralise enmity between tribes.”
As the NBA continues its lockout, I can’t help but laugh at the athletes and teams as they squabble over millions of dollars while the young men in Sudan are salivating at the thought of playing hoops. On July 9, 2011, South Sudan will officially become independent (from the North), leading to the creation of a host national sports team. Check it HERE. This amazing article-which all NBA athlebrities should read-is, at its root, a beautiful story about how sports CAN effectively change the World for the better rather than tarnish it based on money.
Take a minute, put it in perspective and just play the game selflessly.
As always, thanks for reading~
Former NBA Star Manute Bol Building Schools in the Sudan
“The children are the future of Sudan, regardless of the region they come from,” Manute Bol.
Manute Bol was once the NBA’s tallest player, standing an impressive 7’ 7” tall. The Sudanese born baller spent almost a decade shooting hoops for the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat. After he retired in 2004 and the novelty of his height wore off, people seemed to move on…lavishing their adoration on players who land three-pointers, sell overpriced signature shoes made in a Chinese sweatshop or hawk lawnmowers instead of hosting a charity event. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the least bit surprised to find very little information on Manute Bol’s latest humanitarian adventures circulating the Internet.
But I did find my ‘needle in the hay-stack’ via two photos that someone was smart enough to snap…Earlier this week, Manute spoke at a rally for action to end the violence in Sudan at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Who knew? Apparently, only one media outlet (AFP) is running the story…makes you wonder if anyone is paying attention to humanity…
Anyway, Bol has been actively kicking butt in efforts to get funding for a school he’s building in Sudan. Just a few weeks ago, Bol hosted a fundraiser in West Hartford where he spoke about the importance of the school being built because right now, classes are currently being held “under trees” in the western Sudan area of Darfur. “My dream is to build schools across south Sudan because with education you can have a decent life, find a job and improve,” said the Man, “But we must also support the people of Darfur because, just like us, they too have suffered.”
What Bol is referring to is ‘uniting Sudan’…while I’m no expert on the War in Darfur, it seems to me that if anyone can do this, it would be him. (Along with Dikembe and Bono of course)….Bol really is doing everything he can to help reconciliation efforts in south Sudan where the war has claimed thousands of lives, including 250 members of his own family. “What happened to us in the south is now happening to the people of Darfur,” said Bol. (Tensions between the Muslim north and predominantly Christian south of the country add to the conflict).
Some help for the thousands of Darfur refugees who have fled to the south comes from one organization, US-based Sudan Sunrise. “We believe that reconciliation is fundamentally essential for the future of Sudan,” said Tom Prichard, director of Sudan Sunrise. “There is now a chance which wasn’t present in the past. We must seize this opportunity to establish good relationships between the north and the south.” Sudan Sunrise even enlisted volunteers from Darfur to help rebuild schools destroyed in the war. “The response was extraordinary,” said Prichard. According to the UN, only two percent of children in south Sudan finish primary school.
I’m watching you Manute, I’m watching.
As always, thanks for reading. Delinda@athlebrities.com