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UW- Madison student raises $11k for refugee camp where he was raised

UW Madison student Joel Baraka has raised more than $11,000 to help bring education to children...
UW Madison student Joel Baraka has raised more than $11,000 to help bring education to children at the refugee camp in Uganda where he was raised.(CGSchmidt)
Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 5:59 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A University of Wisconsin- Madison student has raised $11,000 to help children at the Ugandan refugee camp where he grew up.

Joel Baraka, 23, is a civil-engineering student and a King-Morgridge Scholar at UW- Madison.

As a young child, he fled the Democratic Republic of Congo with his family in 1997 and settled in the Hoima region of a Ugandan refugee settlement. After being raised at the camp and going to high school in South Africa, Baraka observed the camp’s school struggled with a teacher to student ratio of 1:154 in one classroom.

He was inspired by this experience to create My HOME Stars and a prototype for 5 STA-Z, which is an educational game to break down Uganda’s educational curriculum into smaller packages.

According to a news release by CG Schmidt, the company where Baraka spent a summer interning with, Baraka set a goal of $10,000 to create 500 of the game packages for children at the camp.

His coworkers in Madison heard about Baraka’s announcement and donated $550 to help. CG Schmidt then matched that donation to help Baraka cross the $10,000 finish line. Baraka has raised $11,000 to date.

“Education has given me hope, but knowing how challenging it has been, I cannot stop thinking about the future of my fellow refugee children who were doing their very best with so little, and now COVID-19 is taking away their education, their only hope,” Baraka said.

Baraka has a GoFundMe set up to support his nonprofit and hopes to help even more students.

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