“I don’t like studying, but I am always grateful for the opportunity to learn." This was the sentence spoken by an African child, Monday Noa. Stand Up for Africa (SUA), since its foundation, strives to abolish poverty in Africa. The club works together with various Africa institutions like Watoto orphanage, and SUA has supported Monday Noa for several years. The club denounces discrimination, especially, segregation and insists on the importance of human rights. The Sookmyung Times met Oh Sol and Jeong Heeju, Co-presidents of SUA, to learn more about the club and its activities.
Q. When I heard the club name, SUA, I wondered what it is exactly you do. Would you please introduce SUA to our readers?
SUA stands for ‘Stand Up for Africa’. It is a club focused on volunteering for the people of Africa. The yellow color on our logo symbolizes the Africa continent and its children because the color yellow is used a lot among African nations. SUA centers on the issues of poverty and education of African children. The club also promotes attentiveness to the plight of African refugees, civil wars happening throughout the African continent, and the deprivation of the right to education. The club was founded by 13 Sookmyungians and 3 professors from the Sookmyung Global Exploration program in 2009. These 16 people travelled to Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda and were inspired to establish the club after visiting Shepherds Orphanage—renamed Watoto Orphanage. SUA strives to better the lives and access to education of all children. Today, the club works in combination with other universities such as Chung-ang University and Konkuk University.
Q. What activities does SUA do? What differentiates SUA from other clubs?
SUA members generally meet on Saturday, and we have 2~3 regularly scheduled meetings a semester. Before meeting, we gather topic ideas and research them. New topics are introduced weekly and then announced to members. More senior members send out movies, articles and books on the topics. SUA members gather information about Africa through various activities. In reality, although Africa is comprised of 56 individual nations, most people view the continent as a single country. However, each nation is unique with its own food, society and culture. Also, SUA tries to maintain good relations with the children of all African nations. Members write often and send sent letters through Africa institution. Additionally, the club hosts a semesterly SUA one-day café. During the event, members exhibit various African traditional clothing and artwork and introduced various African items.
Q. The SUA one-day café sounds interesting. In fact, I saw the event on campus last semester, but I could get heavily involved. Please tell us more about it.
Each semester members host a café event in which we have participants join in various activities like making Africa postscript, games, and writing letters to African children. All profits from the event are sent to Watoto Orphanage and Monday Noa. However, the main objective of the event is to alter Koreans’ view of Africa. Most people think people on the African continent are poor, but after participating in the event and learning about the various African cultures, clothing, and various sweets, they change their thoughts. Through the café, members introduce SUA and information about Africa, especially knowledge gained by studying and learning in SUA. Students interested in Africa or learning more about African culture, characteristics, history and so on are welcome always.