The UN refugee agency and its campaign to bring education to millions of displaced children was centre stage – make that centre court – in February 2008 as Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng pledged to donate US$50 to ninemillion.org for every basket he scores this season.
The British basketball star’s donation will help provide education and schools for children in South Sudan, where Deng was born and from where he and his family fled civil war 20 years ago.
Ahead of a game between the Bulls and the Miami Heat, Bulls’ vice-president of business operations, Steve Schanwald, “tipped-off” the team’s fund-raising efforts by presenting a cheque for US$10,000 to UNHCR’s Greg Millar, who was accompanied by a group of children from South Sudan.
The contribution from CharitaBulls, the Chicago Bulls’ non-profit organisation, will go towards building and equipping a classroom in a South Sudan school which Deng is building.
ninemillion.org is committed to giving refugee youth the chance to learn and play, recognising that education and sport can improve their lives. The campaign is focused on all aspects of a child’s educational needs, including school supplies, teacher salaries, recreational programmes, nutrition and transportation. Particular emphasis is placed on getting girls into the classroom.