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UAlbany Students Join Forces to Help Children in the Congo

UAlbany students initiate clothing drive for Save Congolese Children, Corp.

From left, Third World Impact President Nicole Slater, African Student Association officers Mazuba Kapambwe and Godfred Asa-Ntow are collecting clothing until Dec. 17 for Save Congolese Children, Corp., headed by John Muamba, far right. (Photo Mark Schmidt) 

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ALBANY, N.Y. (December 06, 2010) -- Two University at Albany student groups – the African Student Association (ASA) and Third World Impact (TWI) – have joined forces this holiday season to provide children and their families in the civil war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo with shoes, shirts and slacks.

UAlbany students, faculty and staff can make a world of difference through December 17 by donating "gently worn" clothing in boxes around campus marked "Save the Congolese Children." The donations will reach the Congo through Save Congolese Children, Corp., which has an office locally in Altamont and one in Kinshasa, the capital city of Democratic Republic of Congo.

A mother and her child in war-torn Congo

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to go through their closets and find clothing to give. (Photo Jehad Nga, The New York Times)

"We want students to know that every little bit helps," said Godfred Asa-Ntow, a senior chemistry major and president of the ASA who moved to The Bronx from his native Ghana five years ago. "Open up your heart, stop thinking about yourself, and look through your closet. Someone will appreciate it," he said.

TWI, which seeks to raise awareness about often overlooked tragic situations in developing nations, is helping ASA with distributing bins and collecting clothes, as well as providing publicity for the effort. "We want our peers to know about the suffering that is going on in the Congo," said TWI President Nicole Slater, a senior psychology major from East Flatbush, N.Y. "We always lend a hand to ASA; they are a wonderful group."

Asa-Ntow and Mazuba Kapambwe, a senior communication major of Zambian descent and ASA's public relations officer, learned of the pressing need for help in the Congo when they heard a talk this summer by John Muamba, founder of Save Congolese Children, Corp., at a local celebration of Congolese independence.

Muamba, who left his native Congo for America 21 years ago and returned there on a missionary trip in 2009, told the students of the great suffering endured by children and families who survived the civil war. Reporting on the situation in The New York Times in January, 2010, Nicholas Kristof wrote, "no humanitarian crisis generates so little attention per million corpses, or such a pathetic international response."

"What shocked me the most was that some of the children had never been to primary school," said Muamba. Since then, he has personally sponsored the tuition and clothing costs for 10 Congolese children. Through his foundation, he seeks to do much more.

"I was touched when the UAlbany students approached me to help," Muamba added. "They came to me and told me what they could do on campus. I am so proud of these guys for giving. They teach me how to give back."

The effort to help children in the Congo is one of the many ways UAlbany students, faculty, staff and alumni devote their time and talents to serve citizens in the Capital Region and around the globe during the holidays and year round.

To learn more about other opportunities where you can make a World of Difference, visit UAlbany’s Community Connections.

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