The MagkaSama Project
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About Us

The beginnings

The MagkaSama Project was founded in 2003 by artist and philanthropist Max Dana (more info on her official website). Max has a longstanding interest in international affairs and is a staunch supporter of Human Rights. During her teenage years, she created a student newspaper to support freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and covered the Tiananmen Square Massacre and Omar al-Bashir's coup in Sudan. Having a keen interest in the region, she started a newsletter in 2003, gathering information from a variety of sources about the conflict in Darfur to draw attention and alert to the unfolding genocide in Sudan's western region. The newsletter, supported by the members of the Sama Fraternal Society, laid the foundations of the MagkaSama Project when it officially launched in 2007. In parallel with her commitment to bring attention to Darfur, Max Dana started her first kids workshop (Sama Kids Day) to engage them to explore creativity through various art forms (painting, music, photography, art & craft…) to create global awareness, to build empathy and global citizenry through arts education and discussion.

Supporting Human Rights and the UDHR

In 2008, to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Max offered her support to the Every Human Has Rights Campaign organized by The Elders by launching the '60 Signers for the 60th Anniversary' Initiative. She created an original artwork on this special occasion and for several months, she met with sixty people from the most important organizations in the world (Amnesty International, UNICEF, UNHCR, Human Rights Watch, FIDH, Reporters without Borders, OMCT, UNESCO...), to volunteers and individuals supporting organizations, as well as committed people (aid workers, doctors, human rights lawyers...). The Initiative received a tremendous support and the fully signed, original artwork was handed over to CIVICUS and The Elders in London before being sent to CIVICUS headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since then, every year we celebrate Human Rights Week with activities and events before International Human Rights Day, on 10 December.

Inform, share, discuss and take action together

Our mission at the MagkaSama Project is, as its name implies ('magkasama' means 'together' in Tagalog), to work together. We think assumptions and preconceived notions are wrong and through the content we publish on our website and the actions we take and support, we try to bring everyone together to avoid stereotypes, biases and prejudices. Our goal is to keep an open mind even on the most controversial issues by encouraging discussion and debate.

With this in mind:

- We launch awareness-raising campaigns and petitions, adress and/or join open letters, and support our partners' actions;
- We organize events and screenings: The Heart of Nuba (first Screening in France & Panel discussion at Paris City Hall), The Good Lie (private screening followed by a discussion), The Man Who Mends Women: The Wrath of Hippocrates (MagkaSama Project Members and supporters invited to join a public screening). We often ask experts, journalists to join us;
- We publish different types of content: News / Reports, Editorials / Analysis, Interviews and Op-Eds;
- We curate Tweets everyday you can follow on the Twitter Roundup page (English and French) ;
- We engage with our visitors and set up Online discussions to encourage lively exchange of opinions and ideas on hot topics, as well as Reading groups for book recommendations;
- We also invite our visitors to send Messages and Testimonials;
- We select Internet resources, information, organizations to uncover a side of the countries we focus on that is seldom seen through dedicated pages: En Route To Sudan/South Sudan, En Route To Congo-DRC, En Route To Haiti, and En Route To Tunisia.

#SudanRevolts Troy Davis #BringBackOurGirls Raif Badawi #ThatsHarrassment #BlackLivesMatter...

Over the years, we launched, joined and supported many events, actions and campaigns. The following is a non-exhaustive list of these important moments:

Raise Hope for Congo Campaign by The Enough Project (2008); Mass meeting in support of Aung San Suu Kyi in front of Paris City Hall (2009); Support campaign for Zimbabwean artist Owen Maseko arrested for his exhibition 'Sibathontisele' depicting government-led massacres (2010); Protest in Paris with Amnesty International France urging the execution of Troy Davis to be halted (2011); Support to the 'Stop Béchir' campaign by Collectif Urgence Darfour (2012); #SudanRevolts Coverage of the uprising and demonstrations in Sudan (2013); #BringBackOurGirls Rally in Paris with UNICEF France calling for the release of the 276 female students kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Nigeria (2014); Joining migrants for International Migrants Day in Paris (2015); Demonstration of support to jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi and meeting with his wife Ensaf Haidar (2016); Celebration of Human Rights Week and Orange Day (2017); Global petition to overturn forcibly married 19-year-old Sudanese Noura Hussein's sentence to death for killing her husband while he was trying to rape her (2018); Promotion & Panel Discussions for #ThatsHarrassment Campaign by Sigal Avin (2019); Demonstrations in support of #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd and #BlackLivesMatter (2020); Third participation to the #NoFinishLineParis Charity Run (2021) ...

We think, more than ever, that exchanging ideas, explain and discuss is a key to a better, more comprehensive and long lasting commitment. We should always remember that together our individual actions add up to make a difference collectively; our name ('magkasama' meaning 'together') and our motto inspired by the charged with history coat of arms of Haiti mean everything to us: 'Stand Together, because Unity is strength'. Thank you for your long, unfailing support to the MagkaSama Project!

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