Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hope North.

Last Sunday night, I had the pleasure of working alongside Lily O'Brien and Veronica Cooper from Lily Golightly PR at the Hope North Ping Pong Ball at SPiN New York supporting the Hope North boarding school in Uganda.

The event was hosted by Susan Sarandon and Mary-Louise Parker and included performances by Okello Sam, Charlie Mars, Martha and Rufus Wainwright and the like. The night also included a silent auction (in which not a single person bid on an autograph from the Biebs), a not-so-silent auction (where a walk-on role for weeds was bid on for upwards of $5000) and ping pong tourneys galore - all to raise money and awareness for Okello's genuinely grassroots cause...

Hope North is a 40-acre campus in northern Uganda where refugees, orphans and former child soldiers find a place to call home. It is a living and learning community with an accredited secondary school, vocational training center and full time Ugandan staff of fifteen.

In northern Uganda, tens of thousands of children have been abducted to serve as soldiers in a brutal civil war. The war has made orphans and refugees of many others, with 1.6 million Ugandans forced into overcrowded camps. Doctors Without Borders named the conflict in northern Uganda one of the top ten most underreported humanitarian tragedies.

Hope North was created to give education, vocational training, community and hope to some of these young victims, while preserving their Acholi heritage.

Okello Sam is a well-known Ugandan dance and theater artist whose family was directly affected by the war in the north. He and his brother Godfrey were abducted, and Godfrey was eventually killed by rebels.

His home devastated, Okello Sam purchased a large tract of land to serve as a sanctuary for his community, and on which to build Hope North...

AND NOW, for your listening and viewing pleasure, I give you a new Rufus Wainwright's gem, "I'm Out of the Game:"

To learn more about Hope North and to find out how you can help, click here.

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