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Show to benefit Building Together

Elizabeth Kelly | Thursday, February 7, 2008

Through the partnership between Notre Dame’s Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN), the African Student Association and ND-8, Artists for Africa will perform a benefit performance tonight and Friday.

This year’s Artists for Africa benefit will showcase student musicians, a cappella groups and dance groups. Featured acts include Project Fresh, Notre Dame’s urban dance crew, Halftime, a campus co-ed a cappella group, The Dance Company of Notre Dame and First Class Steppers, Notre Dame’s stepping troupe.

The benefit will also include student solo artists Michael Rose and Simon Chun, as well as local band Half Pint Jones.

All of the proceeds from the benefit concert will go toward Building Tomorrow, a non-profit organization supported mostly by colleges across the nation. The organization encourages young people to promote awareness and raise funds for educating children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sophomore Barbara Ho, who is organizing this year’s Artists For Africa benefit, said she is looking forward to collaborating with campus groups to raise money for Building Tomorrow.

“I’ve always wanted to do some kind of benefit concert,” Ho said. “It’s a nice way to showcase groups on campus for a really good cause.”

ND-8 partnered with Building Tomorrow when planning Artists for Africa. ND-8 is a student-run organization on campus that promotes the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals for improving social justice around the world. These eight goals include combating poverty, improving the environment and providing universal education. ND-8’s education subcommittee, which focuses on the development goal of universal education, has been working closely with Building Tomorrow by raising money for the project through fundraisers since fall 2007.

Ho first heard about Building Tomorrow when the organization’s founder, George Srour, delivered a lecture at Notre Dame last spring during Millennium Development Goals Week.

In his lecture, Srour spoke about how he started Building Tomorrow after visiting Kampala, Uganda, as an intern for the UN. While there, he saw suffering children who lacked a decent education.

“It was really inspirational,” Ho said. “He’s pretty young and has already started this non-profit organization.”

After hearing Srour speak, Ho and the other committee members at ND-8 started working with Building Tomorrow to raise $35,000 in order to build a new school in Uganda for 350 local children. The money raised went toward the construction costs attached to building the school.

“The local community actually helps build the school,” Ho said. “And the government sustains it.”

ND-8 worked on several fundraising projects last semester, such as a T-shirt sale, a paper bricks fundraiser, and an ornament sale at Christmas to raise money for the school. Through these fundraisers, ND-8 has raised $24,000 toward their $35,000 goal.

As soon as the monetary goal is reached, construction on the school will begin, Ho said. She hopes that Artists for Africa will bring them even closer to their goal, which they hope to reach by the end of the semester.

“From this event, it would be nice to get a couple thousand [dollars],” Ho said. “That’s aiming high, but we have high hopes for this event.”

Artists for Africa will take place tonight and Friday at 9 p.m. at Legends. Admission to the event is free, but a $10 donation to Building Tomorrow is encouraged. T-shirts will also be sold for $10 during the event. Profits will go toward the $35,000 goal for Building Tomorrow’s school project in Uganda.

Ho is pleased with the collaborative efforts between student groups planning the event.

“We’re really proud of the way campus is working together,” she said.