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Sunday, September 24, 2023


STAND for civilians, against genocide classes to refugees, co-sponsors walk on campus

University of Houston students are taking action against an atrocity occuring a world away.

The Student Anti-Genocide Coalition (formerly known as Students Taking Action Now: Darfur), or STAND, spreads awareness and urges the student body to take action against the ongoing genocide in Darfur, English post-bachelor and UH chapter founder Teresa Pham said.

In partnership with the Genocide Intervention Network, STAND’s long-term goal is to establish a permanent anti-genocide constituency that holds elected officials accountable for doing all they can to prevent and end genocide, according to the Web site

"Our program aims to help protect civilians from genocidal violence as well as help refugees who have fled their war-torn country find a better life. We also aim to help the Houston community by educating and spreading awareness about ongoing genocide and inspiring activism," Pham said.

On April 6, STAND began an English as a second language program called Teaching ABCs to Refugees where various UH volunteers help teach English to Sudanese refugees living in Houston. The first session had only six refugees, but the next week brought 21, Pham said.

"The first day was a success, and we hope to run this program for as long as students are willing to learn and as long as the volunteers keep volunteering their time," Pham said.

Al-Sadiq Jibral is a refugee from the Sudan living in Houston with his wife and daughter. He and his wife have attended the ESL classes offered by STAND every Sunday.

"Our community knows very little about the (English) language. It’s a wonderful program, it teaches punctuation and the alphabet. It’s a good system because we are all trying to speak English," Jibral said.

The classes are offered every Sunday from 1-3 p.m. at St. John’s Church, 2450 River Oaks Blvd. in room 19L. Students or faculty who are interested in volunteering can e-mail STAND at [email protected].

In addition to the class, STAND is participating in the Save Darfur Walk on May 4.

"This is a city-wide, inter-faith walk-a-thon to raise funds for the Save Darfur Coalition, and to raise public awareness of the crisis," Pham said. "There will be a speaker, followed by a non-competitive 5K walk."

Co-sponsoring the event with STAND are the Political Science Department, Women’s Studies Department, UNICEF at UH, and Amnesty International at UH, Pham said.

The walk will begin at 7 a.m. May 4 in front of A.D. Bruce Religion Center. Students and faculty can find more information and RSVP at the Save Darfur Web site,

The proceeds will be donated to the Save Darfur Coalition and will help fund crucial awareness and advocacy programs that play a critical role in building political pressure needed to end the crisis in Darfur, according to

Pham said STAND is planning on starting a mentor program that would assist Sudanese youths living in the city.

"It would be helpful to have volunteers to talk to that can help with college admissions or just everyday problems," Pham said.

"Being a first generation Vietnamese-American and growing up with parents who spoke very little English, I can empathize with the Sudanese children. If we can help out in any way to make their living situation in America better, we will try."

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