Why Tindouf, Algeria?
Located deep in the desert outside Tindouf, Algeria, the Sahrawi refugee camps are home to over 150,000 refugees of a ‘forgotten conflict’: an older generation who lived through the war against Morocco for this land until 1991, and a younger generation born in the camp’s state of limbo since the war’s ceasefire agreement. Yet, despite being one of the oldest refugee camps in the world, the Sahrawis of Western Sahara are an indigenous African people hardly known in the West. Very little media has shed any light or visibility on their plight; yet, their longstanding resilience persists.
Join me on my journey to support the Sahrawi people in Tindouf by putting their cause on the minds of our global, collective conscious.
Sandblast Arts is an incredible UK-based organization that fights to promote both the voices and visions of the indigenous Saharawi people of Western Sahara. Through a series of arts and skills developments programs, Sandblast seeks to uphold the Saharawi cultural heritage and raise awareness of their ongoing struggle. They too believe in the powerful impact of running and through their partnership with the Sahara Marathon, we are able demonstrate solidarity with the marginalized Saharawi population of the region. Marathon participants will be hosted by a Saharawi family in the refugee camp during the event, with proceeds going towards increasing the visibility of their cause and improving the quality of life for the refugee children in the camps through education, arts, and culture programs.
This is a crucial fundraising year for Sandblast as the hope is to expand Stave House in the Sahara; their early learning music and English language program for primary school students in the camps. So far more than 50 children have participated in the programme and 3 local Saharawi teachers have been trained in Stave House. Through the project, Sandblast is also training local Saharawi teachers so that they will be able to run the project autonomously in the future.
So far more than 50 children have participated in the programme and 3 local Saharawi teachers have been trained in Stave House. Through the project we are supporting the training of local Saharawi teachers to deliver the programme so that these teachers will be able to run the project autonomously in the future. In fact next September 2018, the programme will be entirely run by locally trained staff. Very exciting!
HOWEVER, there’s so much more to be done.