The extraordinary Fofo Mahmoud

The email from Akiro Phan popped into my in box with the mundane, often dubious subject header "Proposal/Request," which I suspected was going to ask me to invest a million pounds or so in a Hong Kong bank or lottery.

Instead, I was pleasantly surprised that Akiro, who is also known as Casey, is a freshman at Central High and wanted me to know about his friend, Fofo.

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I love visiting Central. Going there restores my faith in so many things: young people, Philadelphia schools, life in general.

The amazing Fofo, now 15 and a Central sophomore, witnessed almost unspeakable violence in Darfur at the age of 4. Instead of becoming depresessed, or supressing the experience, Fofo shares her impressions in poetry and public speaking, and with her peers as I wrote in Sunday's column.

Fofo is part of Gloval Youth United, launched by Central alum Len Finkelstein to keep the next generation engaged in social issues, activism and change.

--Karen Heller

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