Charlotte area students collaborate to fundraise for education in South Sudan with concert

In 2005, a peace agreement between north and south brought an official end to nearly 50 years of civil war in Sudan. In July 2011, South Sudan achieved independence and became the world’s newest country, mostly devoid of school buildings and access to clean water after years of conflict.

Now, students in leadership clubs, classes and academies at 10 high schools in Charlotte and Salisbury are helping change the situation through the collective effort “Raising South Sudan,” a project supported by Charlotte-headquartered 501c3 non-profit Mothering Across Continents and its education program The Global ClassSM. This year’s student involvement culminates in two public fundraisers in late March.

The first event is an all ages, family-friendly benefit concert at Amos’ SouthEnd, March 29, featuring Charlotte bands Dangerous Daze and 42: A Tribute to Coldplay, school staff, and a special appearance by Emmanuel Jal—global recording artist, South Sudanese author/peace activist and former child slave (in photo). Leadership students from William A. Hough, West Mecklenburg and Northwest School of the Arts have planned and organized the benefit and developed sponsorship opportunities for local businesses.

In addition to a night of great music, students will be selling Raising South Sudan t-shirts designed by members of the leadership class at NWSA and raffling off items donated by businesses in the community. Students set a goal of having 1,000 people attend. Tickets are a suggested donation of $8 (with a $3 door charge for under 21) and can be purchased on the Amos’ website ( ). Doors open at 7pm, with the first band at 8pm and Jal taking the stage around 10:15pm. On the morning of March 29 Jal will also speak at the CPCC Global Speaker Series, spreading a message about youth empowerment and the incredible things students are doing to change the world.

The second event is the Carry the Jerry and Basic 5K Walk/Run in Uptown Charlotte, March 31, for which students register and collect pledges – with the option to carry Jerry Cans of water – to demonstrate empathy for life where survival involves walking miles for basic necessities. Led by student leaders at Rocky River and Independence High Schools, Mothering Across Continents has a goal of registering 500 participants from these schools and the community to walk on behalf of the organization and support clean water at the Raising South Sudan school-sites. The students at Rocky River and Independence are competing for most fundraising dollars and are inviting donations (

Tickets and registration information for both events can be found at

The student efforts represent the challenge component of The Global Class, a unique program that integrates classroom learning, an online community, and a collective fundraising challenge. In the 2011-12 education component, participating teachers and students focused on South Sudan and stories of former “Lost Boys of Sudan” who fled civil war as children, grew up in refugee camps, and were specially invited to come to the U.S. and become citizens. Students have met and interviewed former Lost Boys living and working in Charlotte and Atlanta.

Says Jeff Joyce, Leadership Advisor at Hough High School, “For our own benefit and our communities, we must guide today’s youth to be tomorrow’s leaders. Global understanding, empathy and teamwork are all part of leadership. By participating in Raising South Sudan, our students learn first-hand from people with very different backgrounds and collaborate with a diverse group of their peers.” Joyce was the first teacher/advisor in this year’s effort to propose multiple schools working together for a common global cause.

“Our commitment is to make sure students can see the connection between what they learn, how they behave as leaders, and the difference they can make,” said Elizabeth Peacock, Education Program Manager at Mothering Across Continents and director of The Global Class. “These students are developing leadership skills locally while having a direct impact on school building and water projects globally. It’s been incredibly exciting to watch them grow and really come to own the project over the course of the year.”
In parts of South Sudan, only 2 percent of boys and 1 percent of girls currently graduate from primary school, primarily because school structures do not exist and children must take classes under the trees in a region known for its intense rainy season. Over 70 percent of South Sudanese lack access to clean water.

About MAC
Mothering Across ContinentsSM (MAC) is a 501c3 non-profit through which volunteer “catalysts” receive consulting, coaching and mentoring to develop dream projects that help raise tomorrow’s leaders. The MAC mission is “Adopting Dreams. Raising Tomorrow’s Leaders.” Currently, MAC supports projects in South Africa, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Haiti and Hong Kong. For more information: Tel.: 704.607.0098; email:
See attached schedule for media/photo ops.