Water for South Sudan is pleased to highlight Monroe Community College (MCC): Holocaust Genocide and Human Rights Project (HGHRP), a student-run organization that has supported our mission and services since 2006.
Established in 1990, the HGHRP is MCC's unique organization for telling the stories of the Holocaust and other genocides while transforming individuals to become advocates for human rights. To learn more about HGHRP please visit www.monroecc.edu/organizations/holocaust/.
Our relationship with HGHRP runs deep to the roots of WFSS’s establishment. When Salva was a student at MCC, he presented an organizational proposal to the college. This idea grew into a now 14-year relationship of support impacting the lives of thousands in South Sudan. Through their many efforts including the annual Walk for Water, the MCC community, members of the HGHRP and other supporters have raised over $72,000.
We sat down with members of the HGHRP team to chat about their support. Jodi Oriel, HGHRP Director, has been a long-time supporter of Salva and Water for South Sudan. Angelique Stevens, HGHRP Advisory Team Member has traveled to South Sudan and serves on the WFSS board of directors. Kim Hatfalvi serves as current President of HGHRP.
WFSS: What has surprised you most about the relationship between HGHRP and WFSS over the years?
JO: The endurance. Things are always changing and there is student turn-over every couple years but the relationship between the two organizations has become institutionalized at the college. Students of HGHRP are learning to think outside themselves and WFSS helps to teach that.
WFSS: What do you wish other people knew about WFSS?
KH: There are always ways to help people. The Walk for Water fundraiser is such a simple way for people to share what we are doing. We are helping provide water: a basic need. It’s empowering to know you can do something.
WFSS: How has your involvement with WFSS changed you?
KH: I helped plan a walk. Working with Salva has had a huge impact on me. Reading Salva’s story helped me better understand what my grandparents may have experienced when they lived in a refugee camp. To know what someone went through and to see they were able to come out of it is inspiring. Being involved in the project has helped me better understand what people experience.
AS: In my work as an English and Philosophy professor, I deal entirely in stories. Salva is the perfect example to help students learn all the stories. My favorite story is of the first well drilled. Once the geyser of water started coming out of the ground people were dancing and singing. One man couldn’t believe what he saw, “All this time people have been dying and we have been sitting on top of the water.” The people in this village just didn’t know. WFSS provides stories like this that so many people can relate to.
JO: Everyone can relate to some part of Salva’s story and the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. I have a responsibility to keep telling those stories through the mission of HGHRP. The current world has demanded the stories be told because we continue to repeat history and violate Human Rights today.
Thank you to Jodi, Angelique, Kim and the countless members of the MCC community for continuing to water the seeds of change in South Sudan. Your support will continue to impact lives for years to come.