Everyone – I know people are struggling everywhere due to the economy, but if you have a small amount of cash to donate towards worthy causes which support the mission and goals of Synchronized Chaos Magazine, please consider the Valentino Achak Deng foundation, born of a literary collaboration among United States author Dave Eggers and talented Sudanese storyteller and activist Valentino Achak Deng. A few years ago, the pair co-wrote What is the What, a novel loosely inspired by Deng’s early life in Sudan, his surviving the region’s civil war, eventually moving to the United States as a refugee, and then returning to the region to help build a school to educate and empower survivors.
The school’s in its second academic year, and provides a science laboratory, literacy training, safe, clean dormitories for all students, including women and girls, who may be orphaned or homeless due to the civil war. Construction’s begun this year on a new women’s dorm which will fit another 100 students – who are encouraged to attend as much as possible even if they are married with young children (people in rural Sudan can get married in their early teens and become parents with only elementary school educations.)
There’s a moving essay about the collaboration between Deng and Eggers on the novel…what struck me the most was first of all, how open Eggers was to actually listening to Deng and telling the story his partner wanted to share. Deng critiques the imperfections within both Sudanese and American societies, and relates his struggles as an immigrant in a vastly different culture in an age where Westerners are suspicious of outsiders and where employment opportunities are limited and often dependent on one’s pre-existing professional network. And Eggers invested several years in the project, and was willing to go in new directions as befit the unfolding story.
Also, how the school project brings tangible results when there are so many news stories about Darfur, Sudan, civil war, international awareness and pressure, etc which provide many depressing statistics but little information on how to actually solve the problems. Here’s someone from the region who knows what’s going on and is actually practically helping the Sudanese in a long-term, sustainable way.
This type of international, mutual mentorship and collaboration, and the long-term promotion of education and literacy, goes right along with what Synchronized Chaos Magazine seeks to promote through providing a forum to curate and discuss ideas and works of art of all types.
Also, along the same lines in Uganda, also wracked by another nasty civil war over economic resources, an international team of Ugandans, Canadians, and people from everywhere else are working together to build a youth center, with space for art, drama, writing, fun, and education. Teens in the area say they have nowhere to go while waiting for businesses to reopen and hire them, and for schools and farms to get started again once the region becomes more stable.
The Paramount Chief of the Ugandan Acholi Tribe donated land for the youth center and people are raising funds to get it off the ground. More information on the project, and links to donate, here: http://www.guluwalk.com/build/
We’d rather see you make donations to either of these groups than to Synchronized Chaos Magazine itself, although if anyone has an extra Amazon.com gift certificate they aren’t using, we’d be glad to purchase some books on the craft of writing or on marketing and send them out to our low-income contributors who couldn’t otherwise invest in their craft.