This blog was originally posted on iactivism.org as part of iACT’s 22nd expedition to eastern Chad.
“I feel like a different man…I feel like a leader.” These were the words of camp Djabal Darfur United Soccer Academy Coach Ramadan. Powerful to hear from this young, married man and father of two.
Coaches Ramadan and Habiba have both joined us in camp Goz Amer to assist Darfur United Ambassador Bridget Grant in opening the third Darfur United Soccer Academy. A crucial objective of iACT is to create sustainability across all our programs, and one way we’re doing so is by implementing and promoting peer-to-peer training. The hope is that our programs will begin to scale up under the leadership and direction of refugees themselves.
Before beginning training today, Ramadan and Habiba spoke to the new group of coach candidates about their experiences as coaches. Ramadan told the group that since becoming a coach, he sees that the soccer ball is one thing that brings people together.
We, the iACT team, had a “wow” moment. It is as though his speech was scripted. But no, this is Ramadan speaking on the spot.
I still remember Ramadan during tryouts in Camp Djabal in November 2013. He was quiet, unassuming, kind, gracious, skilled, and extremely hardworking. Today I see him, and he is still kind, gracious, skilled, and hardworking. He is also full of confidence and know-how. He is in his element. He supports Bridget by demonstrating her instructions to the group. He shows them proper stretching postures, how to spread out, correct passing techniques and, most importantly, how to be verbally supportive of others.
Today, Ramadan gave voice to those intangible impacts of the Darfur United Soccer Academy program. He gave voice to the personal development that takes place when an individual gains the capacity, the resources and the platform to make a difference in their community.
In honor of Ramadan and his story, this holiday season, please consider giving the gift of a soccer ball so iACT can continue to support coaches like him and bring people together across all Darfuri refugee camps in eastern Chad.