This blog post was originally posted as part of i-ACT21 Day 13 on iactivism.org.
Today we visited refugee camp Djabal and spent time with Darfur United Soccer Academy (DUSA) coaches Ramadan, Leila, Adam and Habiba. This is the first camp to host a DUSA, and these four coaches hold a special place in my heart. I’ve been able to spend lots of time with them, and their commitment to DUSA is remarkable. They’ve truly set the bar high, and they will serve as wonderful trainers for future coaches as we scale up DUSA to more camps in eastern Chad.
Ramadan invited us all to his home, and we were able to get their feedback of DUSA and the impact the program is having on them and the children. Our conversation was very informative, and tomorrow we’ll be working with the coaches to hash out some issues with the DUSA space in the camp. For now, here are a some things they mentioned today while we sat underneath the shade of a beautiful tree at Ramadan’s home:
“I feel really proud to be a coach as a woman in Africa, because there are not a lot of women coaches in Africa. As a woman I have a right to play. And now I can serve my community, and I know.” – Coach Habiba
“I feel proud to be a coach. I feel I am doing a service to my community. I never imagined I would have the opportunity of being a soccer coach, and I want to learn more soccer.” – Leila
“Because of DUSA, many more children are involved in soccer now. They are happy and they smile, and they learn lots of skills. Soccer is making a future for someone.” – Ramadan
“Now that I am a coach, I help my community. Everybody knows that I am a coach, both here in the camps and in the local village. The training I learned from Rachael [DUSA Ambassador Rachael Rapinoe] really helped me learn to help others. I hope to help more, and I’m proud of the children and how they are learning at DUSA.” – Adam
We couldn’t be more proud of the coaches. DUSA is still implemented six days a week, each afternoon for boys and girls ages 6 to 13. The coaches report that more and more children continue to sign up, and the community has really come to learn how valuable a comprehensive soccer program is for their children.
Tomorrow afternoon we get to see DUSA Djabal in action. I can’t wait!
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