Saint Mary’s Africa Faith and Justice group presented its plan to attend a conference in Washington, D.C., to the Student Government Association (SGA) at its meeting last night. SGA approved the group’s funding request to attend the conference.
Junior Elizabeth Brown, a member of the club, said the club is one of only two campus divisions of this group. Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s are the only colleges to have an Africa Faith and Justice Club.
“The purpose of the club is to promote awareness of issues in Africa and ways we can help,” Brown said.
Right now the club is promoting awareness of the conflict that is going on in Africa over a rare mineral called coltan. Brown said over 6.9 million people have been killed in conflicts related to the mineral.
Another issue the club is focusing on is education. Brown said many children have to drop out of school to help take care of their families or because of illness.
She said a student misses an average of 30 days of school because of worms or parasites. The club raises funds to help pay for the medication needed to prevent these illnesses.
“We want to help,” Brown said, “because we feel that it is our duty.”
Saint Mary’s juniors Elizabeth Brown and Monica Aquirre and sophomore Katie Ciresi all plan to attend the event later in the semester along with a Notre Dame professor and members of the Notre Dame division.
As the only college to have campus divisions of this group, the students have been asked to give a presentation on the last day of the conference. Brown said they would present what the clubs have been doing and how they have helped.
The members said they hope to learn more ways to get involved in order to help with current issues in Africa. They also hope to come back with the ability to educate other students about the issues.