Help a Darfuri Refugee Study in the US

Help a Darfuri Refugee Study in the US

From Guy Josif

Guy is a refugee from Darfur who is studying in the US. We raised $15,000 to cover tuition, rent, & food for 2013. We need to raise $15,000 for 2014. Please support our campaign!

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Update #4

almost 4 years ago

Dear Friends,

Guy has now completed his summer course and three semesters at the College of Lake County in Grayslake. He has completed the international students program in English and is taking regular college courses. This is a huge accomplishment for someone like Guy, who has been through things we cannot even imagine in Darfur, and who has had the courage and commitment to find a way to achieve his dreams of getting an education.

Guy is about to begin a new semester in just a few weeks. Our funds are quite low and we are reaching out for your help. It's hard to ask for help--we all know that. It's hard for me, Alix, and Tamar to ask for help, let alone for Guy to ask for it. But the reality is that Guy needs our help right now.

Please pitch in whatever you can to help Guy pay for his tuition, rent, and get the books and school supplies he needs.

You can make a tax deductible donation (send a check) or make a donation online (not tax deductible). All the info can be found here: http://supportguy.weebly.com/support-guy.html

Or you can go directly to the Fundly page for online donations: http://fundly.com/help-a-darfuri-refugee-study-in-the-us

If you're interested in hosting a fundraiser for Guy, please email mayapaley@gmail.com and I'll be happy to help you out in any way I can. Small fundraisers with friends and family can make a huge difference !

We thank you with all our hearts,

Maya Paley
Tamar Shertok
Alix Sherman

More Info

As an outcome of his experience as a refugee, Guy’s dream is to study Human Rights. Guy is currently a student at the College of Lake County just outside of Chicago, Illinois. Although Guy has raised some money needed to pay for his college education, he still has a long way to go. Please support Guy in his quest to obtain a college education by giving a monetary donation. Your monetary donation will allow Guy to obtain a college education, which will allow him to help others. Thank you in advance.

HERE IS GUY'S STORY:

“WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS”

I am the son of Yousif Ismail Adam and Fatima Adam Abdelmahmoud Arbab. I was born in a village called Mara in West Darfur, Sudan, and was given the name Abdelhamid Yousif Ismail Adam. I survived the genocide in Darfur. After seeing people being killed in the name of religion I converted from Islam to Christianity. With this change of religion came a change of name and a change of place. No longer do I carry the name given to me by my parents. My name is Guy now and I live in America.

I will take you back to my childhood in Darfur. My parents were farmers who cultivated crops like sorghum and owned cows and other animals. They had five sons and two daughters, of which I am the second oldest. There were around 2000 people living in our village, all farmers. We lived happily and were self-reliant, but in 2003, our lives changed completely. One afternoon that August, the Janjaweed attacked our village.  As my family was having tea, nine members of the Janjaweed came to our home and started beating us. They came with Kalashnikov rifles, and they burned our home down.  They hit me in the arm and in the leg, but I was able to escape on my own.  However, I left my family behind.

The Janjaweed are a group of gunmen from Sudanese Arab tribes. Janjaweed translates into ‘devil on horseback’. The Janjaweed got support from the Sudanese government to eliminate people in Darfur. Darfur is a region that is rich in natural resources which the Janjaweed and its backers want to control. The people in Darfur are killed because they have a different skin color and they follow different cultural traditions and because, when the people are killed, their land becomes available for the murderers. The Janjaweed are still killing today, but no one seems to care. The world seems to be ignorant of the suffering of my people in Darfur.

As I was fleeing from my village, I met some men from the United Nations and they stopped and asked me where I was going. I told them that my village had been attacked by the Janjaweed and that I had left my family there. They wanted me to go back to the village with them, but I refused because I was afraid of being killed by the Janjaweed. Instead, the UN men took me with them to a refugee camp in Morne, Darfur.

After that, I left Morne with the UN men and headed to Khartoum, stopping at a refugee camp in Zalingei, Darfur, on the way.  When we arrived in Khartoum, I began living with one of the UN men, who eventually supported me to go to school. Before the genocide, I had attended school only through grade four, after which I could no longer attend because my parents did not have money for school fees. I was really interested in education but there was no opportunity for me to pursue it due to our family situation. In Khartoum, I was able to resume my education. I attended the Evangelical Evening Basic School in Gerief West from grade two up to grade four (the school system was different in Khartoum than in Mara). From there I continued my education at the Young Men’s Christian Association Center in Amarat, Khartoum, and then attended secondary school at Avraham Secondary in Bahri.

However, I was not safe in Khartoum. I was arrested and detained on three separate occasions by the security forces of the National Congress Party (NCP), the political party that governs Sudan.  On each occasion, I was questioned, beaten, tortured and accused of providing information to the UN.  I believe I was arrested because of my Fur tribe identity and because they believed I was providing information to the UN about the Janjaweed attacks in Darfur.  During my final arrest, the NCP security forces told me that if I did not leave Sudan within one week, they would kill me.

I had to leave the country—but where could I go?  The UN man with whom I was living had offered to help me go to Denmark, but the process would take a while.  I had seen on TV that some refugees from Darfur had escaped through Egypt to Israel. I made my decision, and I set off for Egypt from Khartoum. I traveled by train to Halfa at the border of Egypt and Sudan, and from there I crossed into Egypt by boat to Aswan. Then I took a bus to the Ain Shams area of Cairo, where I met someone who helped refugees trying to get into Israel. The next evening, I met some Bedouins who took me by bus through the desert to the mountains. I was eventually joined by a group of 23 other people from Darfur and Eritrea to attempt to cross the border into Israel.  We heard that the Egyptian border patrol would shoot at us as we ran toward the border.  Unfortunately, only ten of us made it across the border into Israel.

“EDUCATION IS THE KEY OF LIFE”

After all I have been through, I was looking for a place where I could be safe and study and do something for the coming generation. In Israel I had a dream to study. My dream is that with education I can change something. However, refugees in Israel have a difficult time studying or working to earn money to survive.

As many Israelis were once refugees and survivors of genocide, I was expecting to find the Israeli government and society willing to help me to go to school so that I could do something to stop the ongoing killing in Darfur and to work for change in my home and the rest of the world, but when I arrived I saw that everything was the opposite of what I expected.  Fortunately, I met some Americans who helped me obtain a student visa to study at the College of Lake County in the United States.  However, attending school is costly, and I am grateful to anyone who is willing to contribute to help me obtain an education.

Many years after fleeing my home, I still did not know the whereabouts of my family and if they were alive or dead.  Then, in December 2011, while I was in Israel, I received a phone call from an acquaintance. He told me that my brother Adam was in Israel. I had not expected to see him alive again, and the day we reunited was a wonderful day. Like me, my brother had managed to escape to Israel, though he had been shot in the leg when he was crossing the Israeli border. I asked him about my family but he did not have any information.

I converted from Islam to Christianity in Khartoum. I had seen what people in Sudan had done in the name of Islam, such as killing men, women, and children.  That is and was a crime, and was never justified by the Koran.  I believe that as human beings we are equal as we were born, whatever our color: black, white, pink, blue. I believe that we are all human beings.

 

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Help Guy raise $40,000 by making a donation.

Guy Josif posted a new update:
almost 4 years ago

It's hard to ask for help...

Dear Friends,

Guy has now completed his summer course and three semesters at the College of Lake County in Grayslake. He has completed the international students program in English and is taking regular college courses. This is a huge accomplishment for someone like Guy, who has been through things we cannot even imagine in Darfur, and who has had the courage and commitment to find a way to achieve his dreams of getting an education.

Guy is about to begin a new semester in just a few weeks. Our funds are quite low and we are reaching out for your help. It's hard to ask for help--we all know that. It's hard for me, Alix, and Tamar to ask for help, let alone for Guy to ask for it. But the reality is that Guy needs our help right now.

Please pitch in whatever you can to help Guy pay for his tuition, rent, and get the books and school supplies he needs.

You can make a tax deductible donation (send a check) or make a donation online (not tax deductible). All the info can be found here: http://supportguy.weebly.com/support-guy.html

Or you can go directly to the Fundly page for online donations: http://fundly.com/help-a-darfuri-refugee-study-in-the-us

If you're interested in hosting a fundraiser for Guy, please email mayapaley@gmail.com and I'll be happy to help you out in any way I can. Small fundraisers with friends and family can make a huge difference !

We thank you with all our hearts,

Maya Paley
Tamar Shertok
Alix Sherman

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Guy Josif posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Mistake on Last Campaign Update

Hi Everyone,

This is Maya. I made a mistake in the last post. We have not raised $10,500 yet :( We have only raised $7,500. Sorry, I should not have written that post last at night last time So we still need to raise at least another $7500 to get Guy through 2014. Thanks!

Maya

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Guy Josif posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

13 year old Noah Sherman raisese $3000 for Guy!!!

Great news--we raised the $3000 to get the matching grant from the Good People Fund. We actually raised a total of $4500 which means we now have $10500 with the grant and can get Guy through another semester of school!!!

Here's how: Noah Sherman, a 13 year old from Forest Park, IL, raised $3000 for Guy. This past weekend, Noah organized a benefit concert at Skrinechops, a restaurant in Forest Park in the Chicago area. Noah sold tickets to the event door to door and spread the word through his mother's email contacts and his sister's Facebook page. There were over 100 people present to hear Noah's rock band and the jazz combo from Oak Park River Forest High School and to meet Guy and hear his story. There were homemade chocolate chip cookies sold, a raffle and an auction. By the end of the evening, the crowd met the goal of raising $3000 to meet the challenge of the Good People Fund.

Awesome work Noah!!!

Help Guy's friends and supporters reach our campaign goal on #Fundly! You can donate as much or little as you want. Check it out: http://fundly.com/help-a-darfuri-refugee-study-in-the-us

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Guy Josif posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Check Out My Latest Campaign Update

December 14, 2013

Dear Friend,
Last week marked Human Rights Day. Two of the most significant achievements of the last century were our worldwide establishment of the rights of refugees and the right to education. I am writing today on behalf of a dear friend of mine, a refugee from Darfur named Guy Adam.

Guy’s parents were farmers. He had six siblings and he had to drop out of school after 4th grade to help his parents with the farm. One day in 2003 Guy’s village was attacked by members of the Janjaweed militia, a paramilitary group carrying out the genocide in the name of the Sudanese regime. Guy fled and has been missing his family ever since, not knowing if any of them are alive today, except for one brother who made it to Israel when Guy was living there in 2012. Guy had fled through Egypt to Israel where he lived for several years.

I met Guy in Israel where he was my translator for a research project I did on African asylum seekers in Israel. When Guy decided to apply to colleges in the United States, I admit I did not have any hope that he would ever obtain a visa to leave Israel, as this is very rare for the African asylum seekers there. But, with much luck, Guy was accepted to attend the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois and was miraculously given a Student Visa to pursue his educational goals.

Guy was able to obtain his visa because a few American citizens vouched for him. To do so, I had to provide the college and the visa offices with my bank account information and to agree to support Guy during his studies here while he is on the Student Visa. On this visa, Guy is not permitted to work, so I had no choice but to move forward and find ways to support his life in the United States while he applies for refugee status. Many people stepped up to help. Tamar Shertok, a friend of Guy’s from her time in Israel as well, took Guy around Chicago and helped him settle in, even taking him to visit her family during holidays and to speak at the University of Wisconsin in Madison where her sister organized a huge fundraiser for him. Together, Tamar and I created a Fundly account for people to donate. We solicited support from friends and family to help us make sure that Guy had shelter and food to eat every day. And Tamar’s sister Becca organized the large fundraiser in Wisconsin for him on her college campus. Because Guy cannot work on his visa, we cover all of his expenses: food, rent, phone bill, health insurance, medical bills and tuition.

Guy marks his one year anniversary in the US tomorrow. While the adjustment has had its ups and downs as Guy has all at once had to navigate a new country, starting college, and a new life in which he is not capable of supporting himself as he always has, Guy has worked hard and done well in his studies, and he has been helped and supported by incredible people like Alix and Jon Sherman who took Guy in during his summer vacation so he would not be alone.

The good news is that this week Guy turned in his asylum application that his pro bono attorneys have meticulously worked on for the past year. It could take another year to obtain refugee status, but once Guy obtains refugee status in the United States, he will have the resources and capacity to live his life and to be a free person. He will be able to work and to sustain his livelihood. He will be able to pursue his passions for learning and for sharing his incredible story of survival and determination with others.

Since we are not quite there yet, we are asking you for your help. We have done what we could to obtain donations from family and friends. We are writing to ask you for your support in funding Guy’s education by spreading the word to others in your network. You have given and supported Guy yourself, and we know this is not easy to do, but asking your friends, family, and colleagues to help you help Guy is another way you can make a huge difference.
Please call me to discuss or simply donate directly by mailing a check to Guy’s fiscal sponsor, Tri-Valley Cultural Jews. Your donation is tax deductible, just in time to increase your 2013 tax deductions. Here is the address:
Rabbi Judith Seid, 1817 Sinclair Drive, Pleasanton, CA 94588
** Write “Guy’s Fund” in the memo of the check**

Or you can donate online (not tax deductible) at www.fundly.com/help-a-darfuri-refugee-come-study-in-the-us.
You can also check out our website to read Guy’s full story and watch a brief video of him at www.supportguy.weebly.com.
If you have any questions please call me at 818-571-3933. Thank you so much for your help and and your support. It means the world to Guy and to all of his friends and supporters.

With deep appreciation,
Maya Paley

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