A 9-year-old celebrates her Golden Birthday by supporting orphaned girls from South Sudan.

Ella Taggart turns 9 on May 9th: it’s her golden birthday.  Instead
of hosting a pool or pizza party with her friends, she’s running the
Fargo Marathon 5K with her parents, Amy and Mark Taggart, to raise
money so that orphaned girls from South Sudan will “Get Up and Running
Again.”  She hopes to raise at least $1000 herself as part of a team effort
aiming for $55,000.

The Taggarts annually sponsor Rebecca Akur, a student at the ASAH School for Orphaned Girls in Duk Payuel, South Sudan. The students were displaced this March when civil unrest reached the village and surrounding areas. All villagers had plenty of notice and had fled before rebel soldiers arrived. The school and local clinic have been looted and damaged, and the thatched homes (tukuls), burned. Twenty-two of thirty-four students, including Rebecca Akur, have been relocated by the ASAH staff to northern Uganda and are enrolled in local schools. Eight students are safe and waiting for transport. Staff is still trying to reach four other students who are in a remote area where road travel is currently unsafe. We expect all students to be “Up and Running Again” for the next term which begins in June.

ASAH is African Soul, American Heart, a Fargo nonprofit that
has been PROTECTING, EDUCATING, and EMPOWERING orphaned girls in South
Sudan since 2010. The ASAH Board estimates the cost of relocating all the
girls and staff at $55,000 for transportation, medical needs (many girls
had difficult walks to safety and they are struggling with the cool weather
in northern Uganda), rental of a large home, furnishing the home, and
providing food, supplies, uniforms and school fees.  Program updates can be found on
Facebook or via the ASAH website: http://asahinsudan.org.

Ella has been supporting ASAH since she was 7 years old, when she chose to make that
birthday her initial fundraiser. This Christmas, she asked Santa to make
a donation rather than give her a big present. Ella and her family run to demonstrate gratitude for the simple freedoms they enjoy, like going to school and living in peace each and every day.

To contact the Taggarts for more about Ella’s efforts, call 239-3400 or email Mark Taggart <mark@tagg-art.com>. 
To contact ASAH for more about their efforts, call or email ASAH Vice President and Marathon Team Captain Kevin Brooks: 293-1065 or kevin@asahinsudan.org. 
Visit Ella’s Crowdrise page to make a donation: http://www.crowdrise.com/AsahRunning/fundraiser/ellataggart

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