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From an Island in the Irish Sea to Refugee Camps on the Edge of the Sahara

By Gabriel / December, 21, 2013

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I won’t lie. I love soccer, or football—as it’s called in the rest of the world. I love it, and that might just be the main reason I so enthusiastically started working all-out to make Darfur United’s journey a reality. But then, when the refugee community heard about the possibility of having their own team, a refugee leader told me, “Now we are part of the world.” So I guess it’s not all about me.

Day 21 i-ACTFrom the start we saw it as an essential part of the Darfur United project to connect the refugee community with the world through the power of the most popular sport on the planet. It’s been so joyful to see this actually happen. This past week, the connection came from an unlikely place, an island in the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man. Ellan Vannin is made up of young men from the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown Dependency located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland.

The Chief Executive for the Manx Independent Football Association (MIFA), Malcolm Blackburn, contacted me offering support and friendship. “First, we have to get Darfur United to Sweden,” he told me, “but we then want to support and be connected long-term and even visit the refugee camps with some of our players.” This type of relationship is what we dreamed of when we started dreaming up DU.

Please check out our Press Release announcing our “twinned” relationship. We know it’s the start of something wonderful, where both groups can learn from each other and share their cultural heritage and experiences. Of course, kicking a football will also be a huge part of it, and I can’t wait to see the two teams on the field playing.


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