April 25, 2008
Challah for Hunger Donates Profits
by Karen Lee
Challah For Hunger presented a $2,500 donation to Jewish World Watch and hosted a presentation by Tzivia Schwartz-Getzug, executive director of the organization, on Thursday evening.
Schwartz-Getzug spoke about her firsthand experience in Chad and informed students about the violent conflict in Darfur, Sudan.
Founded in 2004, Jewish World Watch is a human rights organization.
Challah For Hunger meets every Thursday at Hillel at UCLA to bake a type of Jewish bread called challah, which is then sold on Bruin Walk on Friday mornings.
Challah For Hunger, a volunteer group, was co-founded by two second-year students, Caryn Roth and Alisa Malki. They were inspired by the idea initially based in the Claremont Colleges and decided to bring it to UCLA.
However, this week is the Jewish holiday of Passover, meaning leavened bread is not eaten, and instead of baking, the group leaders decided to invite Schwartz-Getzug to reinspire and to remind everyone of the purpose of their efforts, said Roth.
The donation by Challah For Hunger will be used by Jewish World Watch toward aid in the refugee camps and projects, such as the solar cooker project, that will help victims in Chad and Darfur, Roth said.
Schwartz-Getzug said she traveled to Chad recently, where many victims of genocide in Darfur seek refuge, to evaluate the solar cooker project and to make sure everything was going well. "I saw some of the worst poverty I had ever seen," Schwartz-Getzug said.
U.N. officials had estimated over 2 million people had been driven out of their homes, with an estimate of more than 400,000 people dead. Refugees of the camps in Chad still face many dangers, especially when women and young girls run the risk of being raped and brutally beaten by violent rebels when they leave the camps to gather firewood for cooking purposes, Schwartz-Getzug said.
In an effort to reduce the number of trips the women would have to take, Jewish World Watch introduced the idea of solar cookers, which allow them to cook using solar power and eliminate the risks of gathering firewood.
For the women in the refugee camps, it was a huge cultural shift and a great challenge, Schwartz-Getzug said.
"The solar cookers cooked the food very slowly, but the women were able to adapt to the changes of how food would be cooked. As a result, the number of trips outside the camp had been reduced by 86 percent," Schwartz-Getzug said.
Jewish World Watch is attempting to lobby the U.S. government to prevent companies from doing business with countries associated with Sudan, such as China.
Challah For Hunger is helping this cause by encouraging everyone to write letters to their congressmen advocating its importance.
Attendees said the presentation illustrated the horrors of genocide in Darfur.
"It reminds us why we are doing what we're doing," Malki said.