This is the 8th year I participate in the yearly Run the Sahara. It is an event that I truly enjoy participating in and look forward to each time. The support I have received over the years has been amazing and crucially, has been vital to enable Sandblast continue its project work in the Saharawi refugee camps. As the founding director, this has meant a great deal not only because of the financial support it provides but also because of the friendships forged which endure well beyond the run itself..
Each year has been different and inspiring. Sadly what has not changed, however, is the situation of the Saharawi refugees themselves. In fact, as their desert exile goes on year after year-now more than 40 years long-the Saharawis who are born and growing up there are becoming increasingly despondent, frustrated and loosing the will to dream and have aspirations.
As a result, over the past few years, Sandblast has been focusing more on projects that support young people in different ways. More specifically we have launched SAF- a fund to support small-scale volunteer youth initiatives that benefit the community. In its first year in 2016, we gave small grants to 5 groups. (See our website for more info.) Sandblast has also become one of the main supporting partners to an early music education project -Stave House in the Sahara- which aims to teach music and English through music in primary schools and train local teachers in the interactive story-telling based Stave House method. Sandblast is also providing material support and top up skills-training to sound engineers previously trained by Sandblast through Studio-Live . A small number of them have undertaken to set up independently-run community based recording studios in the camps. These recording studios provide a much needed facility for local artists to be able to produce good quality recordings at affordable rates and also support community-based projects that bolster the preservation of their rich oral heritage, fast disappearing with prolonged exile.
As we have virtually no overheads each donation almost entirely goes towards supporting our project work and does make a real difference. I wish to express my deep gratitude to all the support shown and given through your donations and would be thrilled if you stay in touch and stay interested in our work and progress. Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
Many thanks again for your support.