NBA star Loul Deng is coming to the rescue of children victimized by the war in South Sudan. Deng has teamed up with Save the Children, one of the charities providing aid in the war-torn country. South Sudan is the home country of Deng, who has played for the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Over one million people have been displaced in South Sudan since fighting broke out between the government and opposition forces. The fighting has destroyed basic services including food and medicine. Many children have developed severe malnutrition because of the lack of food. The conflict has also put many children at risk of being recruited into armed groups.
The Loul Deng Foundation is supporting a fundraising effort to help Save the Children's relief program. Deng says, "Today I call Chicago, Cleveland and London home, but I never forgot where I came from. I know how it feels to be far from home. I know how it feels to struggle and to be afraid for my life and my family.”
Deng, who twice helped the Bulls to the best record in the NBA's Eastern Conference, started the fundraising campaign with a donation of US $30,000. He is encouraging others to join him at www.savethechildren.org/deng.
The crisis in South Sudan will only get worse if the fighting does not stop. Hunger and malnutrition are on the rise in the already impoverished nation.
Carolyn Miles, Save the Children’s president, says, “Across the world’s youngest nation, too many children are struggling without the basic means to survive. Many are separated from their parents by the fighting or injured in the crossfire. The support of donors like the Luol Deng Foundation is critical as it enables Save the Children to keep children out of harm’s way so they can have a semblance of normalcy and be kids again.”
This Friday, June 20th, marks World Refugee Day. Deng was once a refugee himself. He adds, "I am calling on all of you who have provided me with support and encouragement throughout my career to join forces with me now. Let’s create a better tomorrow for the children of South Sudan. "