As we begin 2012, Aid Still Required is proud to be a part of Darfur United, a project created by our NGO colleague Gabriel Stauring at iAct, and which Aid Still Required is supporting as Honorary Coach.
People the world over are united in their love for soccer — or “football’ as it is called everywhere except in the US — and the Darfuri refugees are no exception.
Life in the camps is difficult. There is little food and limited water. There may or may not be a school for the children. Firewood is scarce and unless they have a solar cooker, the women often must walk for miles to collect a depleted firewood supply, also putting themselves at risk for attack. With no opportunity at present to return to their homeland, it can be challenging to maintain morale in such circumstances. The images in this video will give you an idea of the barrenness of the area : Camp Mile: Final Day
So how can we make a difference right now? Gabriel’s answer: Darfur United, a soccer team comprised of the best players culled from the 12 Darfur refugee camps spread throughout Eastern Chad, to participate in an international competition. There will be competitions to select camp teams and competitions between individual camps to identify the best players, culminating in the selection of a final team. Plans are underway to film a documentary about the process of creating the team.
iAct has identified two international competitions, The Viva World Cup for people without countries which will be held in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2012 and The Homeless World Cup to be held in Mexico in October 2012; the goal is to garner enough support to take the team to compete abroad.
In addition to giving the Darfuris something of their own to cheer for, the trip and documentary will serve to focus the spotlight on the situation for the refugees and in Darfur. Kounoungo Refugee Camp players showing some of their moves: Camp Kounoungo Moves
And here is a short video with a few camp residents and Gabriel discussing selection of team colors: Darfur United Colors
Gabriel has been going to the Darfur refugee camps in Chad since 2005. iAct also works with The Enough Project that works to end genocide and crimes against humanity. iAct also works with the Dream Team Sister School Project that builds schools in the camps and connects them with schools in the US for cross-cultural enrichment, deepening global relationships and empathy, and providing an opportunity for US students to raise funds for their Darfuri counterparts’ education.
Like Aid Still Required, iAct understands the importance of consistently keeping the public aware of the plight of the refugees. If the public doesn’t know there is a problem, we cannot put pressure on the government, we cannot give money to help, we cannot make the difference we crave as human beings.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NEW TEAM DARFUR UNITED! Aid Still Required champions you and looks forward to your success.