On Sunday, Feb. 13, Charlotte Latin and the Checkers teamed up for “Skating for Sudan” to help James Lubo Mijak, a former Sudanese refugee, with his school-building project, “Raising Sudan.”
Charlotte Latin Students raised more than $9,000 through ticket sales and collected an additional $1,500 for the organization through donations.
Mijak is one of the nearly 30,000 “Lost Boys of Sudan” who were orphaned or displaced when their villages were attacked during the 21-year Second Sudanese Civil War.
He was eight years old when he fled his village and traveled with others by foot for months to reach a refugee camp.
“It was a difficult time, but we had one another,” he said. “I was lucky. I came to the United States of America.”
Of the 30,000 Lost Boys, approximately 3,800 were granted special permission to immigrate to the United States in 2001. Mijak earned a bachelor’s degree from UNC Charlotte and now works in Charlotte and in 2007, he returned to his native village and learned that the residents are in dire need of schools.
In Southern Sudan, two percent of boys and one percent of girls graduate from primary school. In some areas, 90 percent of adults are unable to read. Working with the non-profits Mothering Across Continents (MAC) and Sudan Rowan, Mijak's project, “Raising Sudan,” calls for two primary schools that will serve 600 children.
As noted by MAC’s founder and executive director Patricia Shafer, each permanent school “becomes an anchor for anything else that can be done in the community.”
“I believe that from education comes wisdom, and from wisdom comes peace,” Mijak told students. “I know that building schools is the most direct way to close the door on the past and create a new future.”
To learn more about Mijak’s story, Raising Sudan and Mothering Across Continents, please visit www.motheringacrosscontinents.org.