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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA group jumpstarts kickback fundraiser

The Arizona Refugee Connection will help raise money today to build a school in Abul, Sudan, with its second annual “Give Back Kickback.”

The event, which will take place at Main Gate Square in Geronimo Plaza from 5 to 8 p.m., will have a variety of refugee performances, silent auctions, informational booths, handmade crafts and activities.

“There is going to be a lot of different things going on and should be a good turnout,” said Max Goshert, a marketing senior and philanthropy chairman of the Arizona Refugee Connection.

The Arizona Refugee Connection is a social responsibility project for students in the Eller College of Management. Cindi Gilliland, a management and organizations professor in Eller, started the project after doing some of her own volunteer work in the refugee community. She said she thought it could be a good idea to get students involved.

“There was a real opportunity for students to develop some real world business functional experience while at the same time effecting positive change in the community,” Gilliland said.
She added that there are more than 10,000 refugees living in Pima County.

“There is a real role for university students to assist refugee resettlement agencies who welcome newer seekers of the American Dream,” Gilliland said.

At the Refugee Connection’s first “Give Back Kickback” event last year, the organization raised $16,000 to build a hand-pump well in the middle of Abul. According to Goshert, before the well was built, the women of the village had to walk five miles to gather water from a trench.

“For the first time they have clean water,” Goshert said. “Before this there was a lot of death and ailment in the city because the only water they had was from a muddy river.”

This year, the club wants to continue helping the village by raising money to build a school for the boys and the girls of the community. There is currently no proper school facility in the 2,000-person village.

“The children go to school in the dirt with just tarps tied between two trees,” Gilliland said. “We’re hoping to follow of the success of last year’s event by contributing significantly towards the building of a school.”

With the organization’s efforts, it has been able to been able to provide school supplies for the teachers and students of Abul. This includes notebooks, pencils and chalkboards.

“Before that, they had no supplies, no books, no paper,” Goshert said. “There was only one chalkboard that all the teachers shared.”

The organization’s goal this year is to raise $15,000 at the event. There will be a donation table where people can give money and decide specifically how their donations will be spent. “Five dollars will either provide 10 bricks for the school or 12 pencils,” said Alysa Smith, an accounting junior and member of the Arizona Refugee Connection. Smith said people can donate up to $100 for more expensive items like desks for the children.

There will also be a refugee information booth, and the first 75 people to visit it will receive a free Chipotle burrito or Kababeque Indian Grill food voucher.

The organization will also be selling $5 tickets for a “Dream Trip Raffle,” and the winner will receive a free five-day and four-night stay in Cancun, Mexico.

The event is fully sponsored by the Arizona Refugee Connection.

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