GRASP: STUDENT AMBASSADOR PROJECT
The Global Refugee Ambassador Student Project (GRASP) is a student led program which provide opportunities for high students to explore issues facing student refugees.
For 15 weeks, the Refugee student ambassador is provided with interactive, thought provoking programs focusing on refugees and global human rights issues. During the project, the student ambassador participates in a one-to-one short-term mentorship of a student refugee for 12 weeks.
Benefit for the Refugee student ambassador:
North - Dieudonne Samuel
Urbandale High School
Student Ambassador - South
Hamilton High School
The Democratic Republic of Congo
contributed by Erin Kong
The Democratic Republic of Congo originally existed as the Congo Free State, a privately controlled state colonized by private Belgian investors. The country suffered from extreme depopulation due to starvation, war, reduction of births, and tropical diseases. When the U.S. and European press agencies exposed such conditions, Congo was annexed as the Belgian Congo colony in 1908.
Finally, in 1960 after civilian unrest, the country was granted its independence from Belgium, and adopted the name “Republic of Congo”. Congo persisted in one-party rule until the turn of the century, when thousands of refugees from Rwanda fled persecution and genocide and resided in Congo. Between pressure from both Uganda and Rwanda, rebels held a coup d’etat and a man named Kabila took power. Such became the First Congo War in 1996-1997, and Congo was renamed by Kabila the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ugandan troops attempted to stage another uprising against the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Congolese fought desperately against Uganda and Rwanda. Either side refused to take responsibility for atrocities of the war, leaving Congo struggling to recover from the haunting war. DR Congo was left in rubble, struggling with mounting crime rates and suffering in the center of what has widely been known as “Africa’s world war”. A country torn by gunfire, civilians slaughtered by machetes and cavalry, education is merely an afterthought in the fight for survival.