Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Press release: UK charity Sandblast aims for high participation in international sporting event "Running the Sahara 2010"

The London-based human rights charity Sandblast calls for high UK participation in international sporting event in support of the Saharawi. “Running the Sahara 2010” is facilitated by Sandblast in an effort to raise funds and awareness for the Western Sahara dispute and its refugees. Aiming to recruit 100 participants before the registration deadline on October 15, Sandblast will host several events this September to inform the public and facilitate the registration process. Top rebel athlete and political refugee Salah Ameidane will join the events to share his experiences after having trained with Paula Radcliffe in May.

Sandblast works to give the Saharawis a voice through the arts and will be acting as the official UK facilitator for the Saharamarathon in 2010, with the support of the Polisario Front office in London, the diplomatic representation of the Saharawis in the UK. 

Organised by the Saharawi government-in-exile and international volunteers, “Running the Sahara” aims to raise awareness and money for projects to improve the lives of the long-term refugees. The sporting event takes place in the Saharawi refugee camps in the Algerian Sahara. Participants live with individual refugee families during their week stay in the camps.
Over 400 people from Europe and the US participated in “Running the Sahara 2009”. The UK contingent of 24 participants raised over £10,000 for the Saharawi Artist Fund to finance art workshops and training in the camps for cultural and economic empowerment. Among the British participants were 14 young professional actors from Caravanserai Acting Studios who led workshops in the camp and developed a British-Saharawi play, “The Other Side of the Wall” (premiering on July 23, 2009).

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Running the Sahara 2010 - sign up NOW!

Every year, in February, hundreds of people from around the world travel to the Saharawi refugee camps in the Algerian desert, to run in either a 5km, 10km, half a marathon or full marathon race. This event, organized by the Saharawi camp authorities, in partnership with international support, began in 2001, as a way to draw attention to the forgotten plight of the Saharawi. Participants travel to Tindouf, the nearest town, and for a week, live with a Saharawi refugee family during their stay in one of the four large camps, learning their story and experiencing the legendary hospitality of this exiled desert culture.

The Sandblast charity is the official facilitator, in the UK, for those wishing to participate in this annual event. In 2009, 24 people from the UK participated and helped raise over £14,000 for the Sandblast created Saharawi Artist Fund (SAF). It finances projects in the camps to culturally and economically empower the Saharawis through the arts.

In 2010, Sandblast hopes to recruit 100 people for the 10th anniversary of this international solidarity sports event and raise funds to set up a mobile professional recording studio and train Saharawis to run it.

Registration deadline for Running the Sahara 2010: November 15, 2009 [changed on Sept 11]

For more information email: runningthesahara@hotmail.com

Click on documents for: registration form , information pack , sponsorship form and press release.