Darfur United Soccer Academy
i-ACT is working with Darfuri refugees in creating and implementing a comprehensive program called the Darfur United Soccer Academy. The Academy offers a safe place for children and youth to gather and participate in a healthy and enriching activity, trauma relief, and promote peace-building. The Academy not only provides the joy of play, but serves as a vehicle for peace and a way to connect the refugee participants with children and youth soccer players clubs across the U.S. and Europe.
There are approximately 75,000 children and youth living in the twelve camps that dot the border between Chad and Sudan. The camps are in a remote, isolated region that is, for the most part, lawless. Many of the programs deemed “nonessential” were stopped in the camps. There is very little in way of sustained, organized sports programs in the camps. Furthermore, it’s a population that has and continue to experience extreme trauma, which has been largely unaddressed.
Darfuris love soccer. With soccer balls rarely being available, the children make their own from rags, plastics, and string. They talk about their need and wish for betters sports programs and education. They also express their great hope to connect to the outside world, beyond the camps.
The Academy enables this generation of children and youth to develop life skills that are critical to peace-building, leadership, equality, and health promotion. As well as a safe environment and stable social network.
The Academy provides a low-cost tool for many other needs and development goals in the camps – such as health, education and empowerment of girls and women. Sports programs have shown to expand health education, increase school attendance, and challenge gender norms. The Academy will do the same. The Academy hires and trains coaches and volunteers. Participants receives basic health and hygiene education. Each participant is required to attend school, and girl players and women coaches are provided an equal opportunity to participate and be leaders.
Coach Profile: Leila
Learn about Leila, one of the first of two Darfur United Soccer Academy women coaches! There’s so much more I’d like to learn about Leila. I can’t wait for our next visit so we can get more insight into who she is, her family, her life in camp Djabal and her life before she became a refugee.
Featured Video: Coach Selection
See how the DU Academy project will be implemented in the twelve refugee camps.
See how the DU Academy project will begin in Camp Djabal.