Salisbury High student plans dinner for Sudan needs

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 9, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — Reading David Egger’s book “What is the What” sparked Emma Labovitz’s interest in Sudan.
The Salisbury High School sophomore said the autobiography of one of the country’s lost boys, the name given to the group of more than 20,000 boys displaced after that nation’s civil war, was “really touching.”
After wrapping up the book, she started scouring the Internet for information about Sudan.
That’s when she stumbled upon a website for Raising South Sudan, a project created through the nonprofit Mothering Across Continents to build schools in South Sudan.
Now, Labovitz is planning a pasta dinner to benefit Raising South Sudan.
“(The book) really moved and upset me, and I really wanted to do something to help this country that had seen so much devastation,” Labovitz said.
Labovitz said she wanted to find a way to both raise money and educate people about Sudan.
During the dinner, Nathaniel Nyok, a former lost boy of Sudan who spent 15 years in refugee camps before coming to the United States, will speak about his life and the importance of providing education to the next generation of South Sudanese children.
Elizabeth Peacock, education program manager at Mothering Across Continents, said now only about 1 percent of girls and 2 percent of boys in South Sudan finish elementary school.
“Education is the linchpin for preventing future genocides,” Peacock said. “Our goal is to educate people here about what’s happening in the world and also provide education that is in desperate, desperate need.”
Peacock, who has been helping organize of the fundraiser, said not only is Labovitz helping children in South Sudan, she’s also gaining valuable experience and knowledge.
“Our commitment is to make sure students can see the connection between what they learn, how they behave as leaders and the difference they can make,” Peacock said. “It’s about youth empowerment, how you can be a force from Salisbury in changing the world and the people from Salisbury can be a force to empower young people like Emma to change the world.”
The dinner will begin at 6 p.m. March 16 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 200 W. Innes St. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the door.
“It’s going to be a great learning experience, I think people are so naive to the fact that genocide occurs and genocide has occurred recently” Labovitz said. “I think that knowledge is really valuable.”
Labovitz hopes to raise at least $5,000 for Raising South Sudan. To find out more about the pasta dinner, call her at 704-267-8814.
Donations to Raising South Sudan can be sent to Mothering Across Continents at 310 Arlington Ave. Suite 303, Charlotte, NC 28203. Find out more online at .
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.