Re-democratizing Development…

Click here for more photos.

A few months ago a friend and I found ourselves running through the streets of New York to deliver an envelope with $6000 in it to someone leaving for DC. A week later that same envelope had passed through a few trusted hands to finally arrive in the hands of the main coordinator of the Support Darfur Project in Nyala, Darfur. For the past few months she has worked tirelessly with community leaders in three of the displacement camps surrounding Nyala to implement projects they felt were most needed. To some this has meant building roofs, walls and floors for their community gathering space, for others creating income generating activities for youth by teaching them welding skills. Since December, for three hours a day, three days a week, youth have been learning how to become welders. Of those who have been trained as welders, eight have been able to generate income through their newly developed skills. Yet others are using the resources for educational activities or are in the process of training youth how to detect and disable buried hand grenades in coordination with a local organization. Some of the projects are now finished or established and our coordinator has sent pictures to prove it. The first set show the community gathering space where people come to learn, pray and meet in Direge camp before and after walls and floors have been added and roofs have been mended. The other set shows youth in action learning welding skills at a youth center in Otash camp. I will continue to update you as more reports, results and pictures come in…Please click here to see these pictures.

Know that our Support Darfur coordinator in Nyala to this day has refused to take a penny for the work she has been doing. Know too that as a young female, human rights activist and radio journalist she puts herself at risk on a regular basis going in and out of the camps. She feels that such few resources trickle down to those who most need it, that she wants 100% of your donations to reach the displaced communities she works with. She also believes asking communities what they need and addressing those needs allows people to slowly regain a sense of control and power over their lives, that has been stolen from them. I was at a Food Justice talk last night during which Eric Holt-Gimenez co-author of the book Food Rebellions: Crisis and the Hunger for Justice talked about the need to re-democratize our food systems; to reclaim them from the monopoly that is Agro-business. The same holds true for the field of Development. It needs to be re-democratized. People need to be given the power to control how and where resources that are coming into their communities are being used in order to break legacies of neo-colonialism and exploitation.

Finally, our coordinator feels that involving youth in income generating activities and projects begins to fill an important gap in services for youth in the displacement camps. I hope you like me, feel inspired by the process she has opened up and by the fruits it has started to produce..Thank you for entrusting me and her with your donations. They will continue to have an impact on the ground and I will continue to update you of proof of it.

In gratitude,




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3 responses to “Re-democratizing Development…

  1. Shana Turner

    YES!!!! This is amazing and great!!! Wouldn’t it be so amazing for the young woman in Nyala to come to the States for a speaking tour where she can both raise money for the work she does, raise money for herself and teach people about the struggle and her humble approach to supporting community??

  2. This is fabulous! What an incredible undertaking on your part and Nyla’s. The risks you have taken to make this happen are deeply inspiring and courageous. Thank you for all that you are.

  3. love in the moors

    This is great news nisrin! When do you plan to go back to darfur?

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