- Tell me about yourself
My name is Idris from Sudan, Darfur. I was born into a small village where I grew up, I am from a small family. When the war started in Darfur in 2003, my village was burned and we were sent to an IDP camp. It was not exactly safe so I ran away to the city Khartoum which also became dangerous for me because I am Darfurian. I came to Israel and I saw my community and found Bnai Darfur started by my community. I belonged to this organization for 4 years. In 2011, when I came here I worked in the community facilitating and helping and in the beginning of 2015, I was elected and picked by the board director of the organization. We are working hard on how we can give basic education and give women education. Helping children and within that we have resolve conflicts and the goal is the spread awareness about the Darfurian around the world. We want to show the world the issues in Darfur because there is no media on the ground. Genocide and rape is still occurring in Darfur and we need to focus on this issue and helping the asylum seekers. Change policy on the asylum seekers.
- Mind set about the organization
My focus about the organization is uniting the community. Focusing on the women and how they can have education and support with childcare. Empowering women through education and skills courses so they can support and care for their kids and continue to pass on education. They are smart and we need to teach them and the kids a new democratic way.
- What are your main priorities
We are focusing on advocacy and community leadership. If I say advocacy I mean awareness about the situation about Darfur and the situation of Darfurians in Israel. The leadership is focusing on conflict resolution. Our country is at war and our people need more of a capacity for peace. We really want our people to have more mental power so they can lead the community themselves.
- How do you think Bnai Darfur can reach the community?
The organization is in the middle of the community. We have different centers and this way we are able to extend to who we are able to help on the side of skills, education and advocacy. We are working through the centers to provide basic needs. These include basic education, job skills, school applications, and computer skills. We bring needs into the community.
- How do you think that this organization will work to benefit the Darfurian community in Israel
Bnai Darfur is more focused on in Israel to help them in accordance with the situation they are living. We are making awareness on the side of the situation, RSD forms and with other basic skills to advocate human rights. We are sending the message to the government that we victims of Genocide. We are telling them our story and our history to advocate our point. We are working a lot on the situation and trying to help our people to provide a basic education and teach leadership. We also provide medical care (mental health is big priority). We are taking them to our community centers to better help them.
- How do you think that the organization will work together with other Darfurian/ Sudanese organizations with the same values?
We are close with all the other organizations. We are Darfurian within the specific issue but really we are all Sudanese and we all are working together on how we can create a leadership and create attention to it around the world. We are all cooperating together to spread awareness that our government and our leader in Sudan is killing our people and we are all experiencing it together. The international community is keeping silent on the issue of Darfur, and Darfur has had a long year and a lot of victims. We are working hard to bring a solution and explain and make sure the international aware of what is happening. We are Sudanese and we need and are cooperating.
- How will bnai Darfur reach displaced people inside the camps in Darfur and how can they work with other refugees in neighboring countries of Darfur (Chad, South Sudan)
This is kind of our new vision of 2015, we want Bnai Darfur to spread awareness of what is happening inside the camp. We would like NGO’s on the ground to be able to help these people. We need organizations like Bnai Darfur to be able to make a connection and be able to help these people. We have many organizations around the world to make connections to the US and UK to also provide help in getting aid inside the camp.
- How do you its best to present and advocate for the problems in Darfur? (theater, speeches, music) How do you personally present the current issues in Darfur to the rest of the world and the public in Israel ?
The problem in Darfur it is the government killing the people, 200 women were raped in 1 night. It is even worse than that and no NGO’s are helping with that. We are concentrating on that, I became an activitst because I was in jail in Sudan and when I was in Khartoum, my activism is about telling people what is happening in my country. The national TV does not cover what is happening and what is going on. Personally I have been in Jail for a long time and I came to Israel after that. I am wishing to work hard within my community to tell to the world about the situation in Darfur. Yes in Darfur Genocide is still happening.
According to the situation, I personally tell my history to the Israeli citizens and NGO’s about the situation in Darfur, we give letters to the Canadian embassy and European Union about the situation and the Darfurian community here in Israel and on the ground in Darfur. We make demonstrations (like the one on Al-Bashir). We make a lot of demonstrations on many embassies when the countries have taken a stand with the government of Sudan.
- What does the organization provide for the community
- Can you explain how your life has been improved/changed since leaving Darfur
My life I was living was with my family and my mother and father in the city. I had not seen my father for 6 years. He was in the city of Khartoum and I was in Darfur with my mother. In 2003, when the war started my Father was supposed to come back but was killed by the government. In the IDP Camp, UNCCR opened a school but the children had no interest in education and most stayed on the streets. I was working with the NGO to get kids education and support them. The government put me into prison for 2 months and then again for 3 months. My mother was scared I was in danger. The last time I was told the next time I was arrested I would be taken or be killed. My mother was shocked and said I had to leave the IDP camp and go to the city. The city is a big place and no one will no you and here everyone knows you. You will be arrested and killed. I went to the city and studied English and went to school and working on how I can start to help. Kids are dying and people are being killed. We started to create an awareness about Darfur from inside the city of how the government was raping and killing people. This was 2005-2007.
The government started to arrest us and in work we started a student organization focusing on the issue of Darfur. We will tell the world and the general Sudanese. I was arrested 2 times. And the last time I was not able to stay because they told me this was the last time. But they did not take us to court they just took us to prison. I was not treated humanely. I was beaten and that’s why I decided to leave
Now, I cannot give up the way my people are living. I’ll do my best to spread awareness and advocate for issues unless the peace will come and then I can go home and celebrate with my family and see the kids and my mother and that will be like my best day. I wish the peace will come.
- What have you learned that others might not know about the issue and circumstances in Darfur
The cooperation with NGO’s making awareness to organizations around the world. We are wishing that we can get international organizations there to help. Because there is no help. They need to see the situation of Darfur. Many organizations are needed for this issue to help. We need people to know about the situation.
- What kinds of goals do you think that the organization can work towards?
My future goals for the organization is the leadership of the Darfurian community makes advocacy about the community and focus on making awareness about the situation in Darfur and how we can get the NGO’s inside the camp to see what is occurring and how to better resolve the conflict.
- Did you ever have any doubts
Yes, now is a hard time because of the community they are not living in good conditions. Some are in Holot and some are here but regardless there is no stability. We are working hard to make this organization be alive. Some of the community goes back to Africa and some are here or in Holot and it creates separation in the community and it is hard to create unity that way. We have challenges like most organizations but we are working hard.