Many of us have heard the plight of the 27,000 “lost boys” of Sudan, their perilous 1,000 mile walk left more than half dead, and the rest came home to a country devastated by war, bare of essentials like clean water and schools. Matt Hoffman, an alumni Phi Theta Kappa member from Illinois Central College, was touched by these horrific stories and moved to immediate action. Matt reflects, “A good friend of mine, Sean Fahey from Endless Eye, informed me that his 501(c)3 had committed to raising funds to shoot a documentary film to raise awareness about the situation in Southern Sudan.” Sean’s organization has been working with Justin Machien Luoi, a Lost Boy, to build a library, a school, and provide clean water for Panyijiar County, Southern Sudan. Matt wanted to know how Upsilon Mu, Illinois Central College’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter, could get involved. They talked for a few hours that night and decided to design a “walk event” in Peoria, Illinois. That is how WalkSUDAN was born.
WalkSUDAN is a project intended to raise awareness and funds to build a library in Panyijiar County, Southern Sudan, a region that has been devastated by 20 years of civil war and ethnic conflict. As part of the “walk event” WalkSUDAN decided to collect books and that is where Better World Books got involved. Matt’s chapter was already running a Book Drive for Better Lives book drive. Matt approached me and asked if there was anyway we could help them with shipping the books to Sudan. Through the help of Pat Plonski, Aaron King and Dustin Holland we made an arrangement to cover the cost of shipping as long as they continued to send books.
Between the walk event and their book drive the Phi Theta Kappa collected over 8,000 books. Shortly after our first pick up in Peoria, Endless Eye secured another major score for WalkSUDAN: another 7,000 books from the Newberry Library in Chicago. Volunteers from WalkSUDAN, EndlessEye, our own Tony Tagliaferri, Phil Sorberg, and even my parents spent the morning packing the books from the library and putting them into Roy.
We are eager to get a container of books to Sudan, but before we can do that the library must be built. This Sunday December 14th there is a huge fundraiser for the library so if you can give anything at all even a $1, it would be much appreciated. Please visit Library Project for more information and to donate. Thanks to everyone that has helped with this project thus far, and for all those that help in the future.