The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

No city money to Rafah project, May 3, 2006

Madison Ald. Lauren Cnare and State Journal readers can rest easy. Contrary to Melanie Conklin’s April 19 column, the Arcatao, El SalVador, sister city project did not give any city money to the Rafah sister city project.

In spite of erroneous comments made by the Sister City Oversight Committee, Arcatao only reported co-sponsoring public events with other groups, including a Passover Seder with Madison-Rafah. Proceeds were split between humanitarian projects of the two groups. No city money was used.

The claim of an “end-run” around the City Council is ludicrous. We are completely self-supporting and have raised tens of thousands of dollars for humanitarian projects, thanks to hard work from members and the backing of many good people in the Madison area.

Conklin and the State Journal have smeared our reputation at a time of soaring hunger and poverty in Rafah, when maintaining the trust of our supporters is essential. Conklin quotes Cnare as saying, “It’s not that the kids don’t deserve milk or money. They do.” We agree.

To help the people of Rafah with food and medicine, send contributions payable to MRSCP and marked “Rafah relief” to MRSCP, P.O. Box 55371, Madison, Wis. 53705.

— George Arida, Barbara Olson and Kathy Walsh, members of Madison-Rafah Sister City Project.