Chanoff ’94 Garners National Attention for Sudanese Refugees

Refuge Point's Sasha Chanoff ’94 speaks on Lost Girls of Sudan.

Refuge Point’s Sasha Chanoff ’94 speaks on Lost Girls of Sudan.

Sasha Chanoff ’94 and the organization he founded, RefugePoint,  were featured prominently on several national media outlets recently, including a special on 60 Minutes on Sunday, March 31. RefugePoint works throughout Africa identifying refugees in life-threatening situations and relocating them to safety.

The CBS news show, 60 Minutes, aired a two-part 20-minute special March 31, on the resettlement of the Sudanese Lost Boys and what has happened over the past decade since they’ve arrived in the United States. Chanoff was instrumental in facilitating this story and was featured in the segment, which included footage of his original contact with these boys whom he helped to relocate and ease their adjustment. “It’s a group that’s lost in time,” Chanoff observed when he first met the boys in the refugee camp and was giving them information about life in America. His information sessions even included passing around a handful of shaved ice: “This is what winter feels like in America,” he told the youngsters, who each held the mound of snow,  shivered, laughed, and passed it on to the next boy.

Boston’s NPR-affiliate WBUR aired a segment on how Sudanese orphaned girls were overlooked in the Lost Boys resettlement. Host Sasha Pfeiffer interviewed Sasha Chanoff and Yar Ayuel, one of the 89 Sudanese girls who made it here with the thousands of boys. Chanoff calls the oppression of girls and women “the great moral challenge of our century.” He adds: “Humanitarian agencies have to put girls front and center. They have to consider the particular vulnerabilities that girls face. Because if they don’t, girls are overlooked and they’re forgotten. That’s what happened with the Lost Girls of Sudan, and that’s what’s happening today in many situations as well.”

Additionally, The Boston Globe published an op-ed from Chanoff about why the Sudanese girls were overlooked.

“This shines the light on some of the horrors refugee children face and the inspring success of those who have the opportunity to rebuild their lives. I hope we can continue to also draw attention to the plight of overlooked and forgotten refugee girls, who often face even greater danger,” Chanoff said.

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