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Vt. group making strides in South Sudan - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. group making strides in South Sudan

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

The Sudan Development Foundation in Vermont, SUDEF, has been making strides to help families in South Sudan.

"The bond between the people here in Burlington, the people in Vermont, with the activities that we have been running -- it is a deep connection," said SUDEF Founder Abraham Awolich.

Awolich graduated from UVM in 2006 and began the organization in 2009.  On Sunday he met with community members to show them how their support is providing help in his country. "They care so much about us they extended that amount of care to people in South Sudan, so it's good to give them updates on some of the positive contributions that they are making," Awolich said.  

SUDEF has set up medical facilities throughout South Sudan that now service more than 170,000 people. With assistance from worldwide medical organizations -- and Vermonters -- his team has been able to help people fight diseases like cholera and meningitis.

The event took place in the Davis Center at the University of Vermont  and was organized by students who also hope to someday give back.

"I just want to keep working with SUDEF and keep getting UVM students aware of what's going on and also I'm a  major so I hope to go abroad," said Deirdre Howard, a UVM sophomore.

"It just shows how if you come together as one, we can do so much more," said UVM student Hannah Orzolek.

Awolich hopes his efforts inspire students to continue helping others across the world and right here at home. "I want them to understand that there is a connection between education and violence. Where there is less education there are less opportunities and more violence," he said.

"I think its really important for people in Vermont and UVM students to notice the connection and how they can help out and get involved," Howard said.

And as these students continue to spread the word, Awolich says SUDEF will continue to thrive and give those who are less fortunate a second chance.

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