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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, January 21, 2008

'Iolani efforts will aid Darfur

By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer

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HOW TO HELP

For more information, or to place a T-shirt order via e-mail, contact 'Iolani history teacher Lisa "Charlie" Ritts at lritts@Iolani.org.

T-shirts to benefit Dollars for Darfur are $15 for all sizes.

Checks should be made out to 'Iolani School.

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'Iolani School students, teachers and parents are elated about the successful outcome of a recent student project intended to focus attention on a human crisis thousands of miles from the shores of Hawai'i.

On Jan. 10 and 11, the school held a two-day benefit concert to raise awareness and money for the plight of millions of refugees in Darfur, in the western region of the Sudan in Africa.

Two local bands Vaihi and 4EWASOJAZ (pronounced Foa Evah So-Jahz) donated their time and talent to help bring attention to this important cause, organizers said.

That event grossed $6,000. Then, last Monday and Tuesday, the students collected $1,500 more through the sale of student-designed T-shirts at the 'Iolani Book Store.

The whole effort was part of a service-learning project organized by 'Iolani's contemporary issues in America class.

"One of the cool things has been to see how the project has raised the awareness of the students themselves about the situation in Darfur, and how it has motivated them to learn more and stay involved in what's happening over there," said Rochelle Tufono, whose daughter, Lindsey, an 'Iolani senior, is one of the contemporary issues students involved in the project.

All profits from the concerts and T-shirt sales will go to the Dollars for Darfur organization, which assists an estimated 3 million refugees and others affected by the genocide in that African region.

The ethnic and religious conflict has resulted in the genocide of more than 400,000 people by the Janjaweed and Sudanese military.

The T-shirt sales period at the bookstore also featured an informational slide show about the Darfur situation. Fact sheets were distributed with every T-shirt sold. Purchasers were also encouraged to sign a petition to "Harbor Hope for Darfur," addressed to the United Nations secretary-general.

Organizers say there is still a limited supply of T-shirts available for those interested in supporting the effort as well as signing the petition.

Reach Will Hoover at whoover@honoluluadvertiser.com.