Two fellows journey to South Sudan and Uganda with Hope for Ariang foundation to support education for girls and the empowerment of women.

2011 Carl Wilkens Fellows Cynthia Davis (right) and Cory McMahon

On January 28th, two of United to End Genocide’s 2011 Carl Wilkens Fellows departed the United States on a two-week trip to Uganda and South Sudan. Cynthia Davis is a decorative artist from Fairfield, Connecticut and Cory McMahon is a Registered Nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital with a background in public health. Cynthia and Cory are on a trip with Gabriel Bol Deng in support of Hope for Ariang, a development organization tasked with education accessibility with a special focus on girls and empowering women in the village of Ariang in South Sudan.

Before going to South Sudan, Cory and Cynthia met Gabriel in Kampala, Uganda to visit with four students from Ariang who are attending boarding school there with the vision that they will one day come back to the village to teach future generations.

“They fit everything required in a small metal trunk and carried everything up three flights of stairs on their own,” Cynthia said, reflecting on the beginning of the school year check-in process. “It took hours to get their supplies checked in, uniforms ordered, bed selected, and money in the canteen. It was hard seeing their dorm room beds stacked 3 high with barely a mattress and side by side for rows; but observing their smiling faces and embraces with friends I knew they were happy to be there and excited to be back at school.”

Unfortunately though, not all the students could travel from Ariang to Kampala this year for school, “probably due to inflation and the food crisis at home,” Cynthia said.

“It would make a huge difference in America if every child knew what it is like in a developing country without the opportunity for education. We are soon to get a real taste of it in the village.”

Stay tuned to our blog for more on Cynthia and Cory’s trip to South Sudan.

About Cynthia and Cory

As a board member of Hope for Ariang and a Carl Wilkens Fellow with United to End Genocide, Cynthia Davis created The Sudan Canvas Project to raise money for a women’s empowerment project and raise awareness about ongoing violence throughout Sudan through artwork. Cynthia has been building political will to end and prevent genocide throughout southern Connecticut by engaging her community, raising the profile of mass atrocities in her local media and raising her voice with her members of Congress. At a culminating event in Fairfield, CT in November 2011, Cynthia and the Sudan Canvas Project raised over $10,000 for Hope for Ariang. “After raising the money for women’s empowerment in the village, I felt it was time I went myself to get this project off the ground,” Cynthia said.

Cory McMahon has significant international public health experience, including serving as the Vice President of the board of directors for Sibusiso, Inc. and working closely with immigrant and refugee populations in Massachusetts to provide health education and awareness, increase access to health care, and serve as a resource to connect those in need with other critical services. As a Carl Wilkens Fellow, Cory is creating a network of health care professionals who are active human rights and anti-genocide advocates.

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