If you have not been following our updates on Darfur United, check out our latest blog posts here and here. Over the next two weeks, we will be posting a series of updates as Darfur United competes in the Viva World Cup in Erbil, Iraq.
Last week, Gabriel Stauring over at iAct headed to Djabal, Chad to meet with the 16 players that make up Darfur United. After a great send off by the community in Djabal, the team left for N’Djamena, Chad this morning. Aren’t these pictures incredible? The community has been watching the team practice for weeks and now they are sending them to Iraq to represent them before the world.
Soon, we will also be in the air heading to Iraq to meet the team in Erbil. Erbil is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world with urban life dating back to 6000 BC. What an amazing place to host an event for the tournament meant for those people who are not recognized by the international FIFA body and for those people without a home country!
As has been mentioned before, this is the first time that representatives from each of the twelve Darfuri refugee camps have gotten together. Darfur United is not just the team name–it represents the fact that all Darfuris have come together to make this happen. Families from each of the camps have been without their loved ones during the tryout process and practice for the World Cup. People living in Djabal have been out in the sun every day rooting on the team as they train to take on teams from all over the world.
In addition to the joy Darfur United has brought to the refugees, the team will also bring renewed attention to the Darfuris who have been living in camps in Chad, away from their home country, for 10 years now. With more focus on the situation between Sudan and South Sudan, the refugees have been largely ignored. At Aid Still Required, we know that in order to make a difference in a place that has been forgotten by so many, we need to shine a spotlight on that place so that it can not be ignored. Darfur United will have its games streamed over the internet and their story will be covered by journalists the world over. Darfur can not be ignored.
Darfur United will face North Cyprus in their first match on June 4th. What a journey it has been since Gabriel and Katie-Jay organized the gathering of players for tryouts–it has been a beautiful journey coupled with the challenges that naturally come about when putting together something of this magnitude.
In order to get to this point, we have relied upon the support of a whole host of generous groups and individuals. Thank you for helping to bring this all together and please keep up with Darfur United through our website here at Aid Still Required and through DarfurUnited.com. Our partners, iAct, will also have a ton of information up on their site: iactivism.org
The next update will be posted from Iraq! Gooooo Darfur United!