Sandblast -a UK charity promoting the voices and visions of the indigenous Saharawi of Western Sahara. These formerly nomadic people have been refugees in the Algerian desert since 1975. Through arts and skills development projects, we seek to bolster their cultural heritage and raise awareness of their ongoing plight.
• Sandblast director, Danielle Smith, got approval from the Saharawi Ministry of Education, in the camps, to build a new centre for Stave House within the Lal Andala primary school premise. This is needed to accommodate expansion of the programme to teach 4 levels of music and English language. A plan has been drawn up and the budget provided by a local Saharawi builder who comes highly recommended. To build an 8m x 16m centre, which includes two large rooms, two practice rooms and a little front courtyard will cost £10,000. Yes folks, we will be fundraising over the year and need the support of everyone to make it happen! Please DONATE now by clicking on this link to help us reach our target. We are eternally grateful for all the support we have received so far!
•17-24- Maite Heres, the director of Centre of Performing Arts of 440HZ, in Gijon Spain, gave an amazing 7-day intensive singing workshop with 30 children from Stave group levels 1 and 2. We discovered some fantastic voices and talent in that week and the children totally fell in love with Maite. She also spent every morning training the two music teachers. Along with AB music Academy, she has also committed to hosting children in Spain for music workshops and to provide ongoing training sessions to the Saharawi music teachers.
• As part of our expansion process, two new Saharawi teachers were recruited in the camps to join the Stave House in the Sahara Project. Welcome Nanaha, who will be teaching English alongside Tekween and Nicole who will be assisting Fatimetu to teach music. Also joining the project is the Saharawi musician Mahfoud Othman, who will be teaching piano, ukelele, flute and Saharawi songs to the children.
20-28th- Andrada and Florin from AB Music Academy ran the first ever international music workshop over 7 days with a group of 30 Saharawi refugee children from the Stave House level 2. On their final day, they performed to the Sandblast runners who visited the project, playing a short 4-part piece from the Chariots of Fire score, a 4 rhythm sections for the Amos in Africa song and sang a traditional Romanian song they had learnt. We were so proud of them! One of the best outcomes is that AB Music academy has committed to hosting Saharawi refugee children for summer English language and music programmes in the future, and will train more music teachers and provide long-distance support.
26th-Liz Warner came in 3rd place for the 42km race. She joined the Sandblast group of runners from Paris but is originally from the US (how international!) First time someone running on behalf of Sandblast grabs a medal. What a star!! We love her. The group of nine runners raised close to £6000 for Stave House in the Sahara. We are enormously grateful for this fundraising effort.
Watch the superb 5-minute video produced by Sandblast volunteer George Cloke about the Saharawi National Youth Band, an initiative supported by Sandblast to help Saharawi music develop and reach international audiences. Click here to view
6-8pm, June 24th-Don't miss a rare opportunity to meet Aminatou Haidar, one of Africa's foremost human rights activist. Hear her powerful and inspiring story and find out more about the little-reported systematic human rights violations being committed under Morocco's occupation in Western Sahara. Aminatou visited the UK, in 2007, as a special guest of the Sandblast Festival at Rich Mix.
The event will include fascinating contributions on the role of the arts in the Saharawi struggle from artists coming from either side of the "Berm", the 2,700 km long Moroccan-built wall in Western Sahara, Click on this link to hear what multi-media recycling artist Mohamed Sulaiman from the Saharawi refugee camps has to say.
Book you place online at Eventbrite now or just show up. The event is free!