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Run the Sahara 2017

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Run the Sahara is Sandblast’s annual awareness and fund-raising event. It promotes the SaharaMarathon, the world’s most prestigious solidarity race organized in a refugee camp, a unique and inspiring international race that takes place in the Algerian desert in aid of the Saharawi refugees living there.

As the official UK promoter of the SaharaMarathon, Sandblast’s role is to take the headache out of organizing the week- long trip for people to participate in the SaharaMarathon. Along with providing logistical support, we organize a special educational cultural programme to enrich everybody's experience during their stay in the refugee camps.


Our fundraising goal in 2017 will aim to continue and expand the support we are providing for our projects in the Saharawi refugee camps in 2016.  We aim to raise £20,000, which will be divided as follows to help us to carry on with:

1. SAF (the Saharawi Artivism Fund) - £4,500. This fund was created in 2015 to support the strengthening of Saharawi civil society and to encourage small-scale volunteer initiatives that engage the community to bring about positive change in the cultural, social, environmental lives of the Saharawi refugees. Projects receive up to €500 for expenses and must be completed within the year.

Sandblast is working in close partnership with the local Saharawi grassroots volunteer group SCAP, a campaign movement protesting the illegal exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara. They are our on-the-ground coordinators for SAF, ensuring its promotion, providing support for the awarded projects and overseeing monitoring.

In May 2016 Sandblast and SCAP awarded SAF funding to FIVE projects.  They were for:

a. Awareness-raising in Ausserd camp in schools and the community about the dangers of newly introduced electricity power to the camp

b. Health and nutrition campaign in Boujdour camp

c. Afterschool sports and recreation club for small kids and teenagers in Smara camp

d. Mental and physical development activities in Al-Auin camp with Saharawi kindergarden kids 

e. “Caring for and keeping your environment clean” activities with children in the camp of Boujdour

Raising £4,500 for SAF will enable us to award funds to 5 new projects, provide continuity funds for one of the 2016 awarded project that shows the greatest effectiveness and benefit for the community and to cover expenses of SCAP for its coordination work.

2. Salaries of 3 Saharawi “Stave House in the Sahara” teachers for 6 months - £1,500. This project is providing Music and English language education in primary schools in the Saharawi refugee camps following the early music teaching method Stave House. Led by ethnomusicologist and educator Violeta Ruano (a long-standing Sandblast friend) in collaboration with three Saharawi teaching trainees, “Stave House in the Sahara” successfully piloted in the school Lal Andala (camp of Boujdour) in the spring of 2016 with a group of 30 year 1 and year 2 children. In order to ensure the continuity of the project, we are raising  £1,500 to cover the salaries of the three Saharawi teachers for 6 months throughout the school year 2016-2017 (Sep-Dec 2016 and Feb-Apr 2017). 

3. The rebuilding of the cultural centre in Al-Auin camp - £10,000. This centre was very badly affected by the 2015 floods.  In 2016, Sandblast is investing £10,000 for the first stage of building the multi-arts, multi-use community centre. It will employ locally sourced materials and know-how and use innovative, sustainable building methods to keep costs down, using recycled materials as much as possible. An additional £10,000 will be required in 2017 to finalize the structure. The centre will house a recording studio, arts/photography studio, rehearsal spaces, exhibition/cinema spaces and a digital library.

4. Setting up Studio-Live at the National Union of Saharawi Women (NUSW)-£4,000. In Feb 2016, Sandblast resources for Studio-Live were officially transferred to NUSW under the stewardship of Shaia Wali, and active member of NUSW and one of Studio-Live’s most accomplished sound engineer students trained by Sandblast from 2012 to 2014.  Under this arrangement, Sandblast has agreed to support the NUSW with resources and further training over a period of 12 months so the studio can become fully operational for training and professional use to enable NUSW to pursue exciting recording projects that are in the pipeline, such as weekly half hour radio programs focusing on women and a recording project of Saharawi women singers and poets.

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Raised: 20%

Team target: £20,000.00

Raised so far: £3,961.69

Team members

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Member photo Name Fundraising progress Raised so far
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Christopher Witty

Christopher's Sahara Marathon

47 donations



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Marcin Remarczyk

Marcin's Run the Sahara page

1 donation



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mark patrick

mark's Run The Sahara page

1 donation



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Maya M'Dina

Maya's Sahara Marathon

41 donations



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Wout Tankink

Wout is running the Sahara

6 donations



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