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Our mission

Sandblast is a UK human rights charity promoting the voices and visions of the indigenous Saharawi from Western Sahara through the arts.

The protracted conflict in the Saharawi homeland, Africa’s last colony,  turned the majority of the population into refugees in 1975. Close to 200,000 are displaced in harsh desert camps in SW Algeria, dependent on international aid to survive.

We believe in the right of individuals and communities to enjoy culture, celebrate the arts and promote their own traditions. Bolstering the cultural heritage of the Saharawi and raising awareness of their overlooked plight are important to our mission.

Since 2005, Sandblast has worked to create platforms in the UK to promote Saharawi arts and culture and undertaken projects to develop artistic skills in the refugee camps.

Our current project, Studio-Live, aims to equip the refugees with the skills, material resources and expertise to build their own local music industry. Music has been important to expressing the Saharawi cause for self-determination since their struggle began in 1973.

If you join the Run the Sahara charity race in 2015 you will help Sandblast to continue and expand its exciting Studio-Live project. 

Have a few moments to spare now? If so please listen to the excellent BBC Radio 4 programme ’Studio In the Sand‘, by Robin Denselow. It features the early days of Studio-Live in the camps and highlights the role of music in the Saharawi struggle. Also see our short video about the training workshops we are doing in the camps.

We are a tiny charity and our success depends on the support we get from you.  This can come in many forms. We welcome your time, skills and ideas… and of course we never turn down a donation!

“Studio-Live is a great idea. The music of the Saharawi people will inspire many to take up their cause.” (Ken Loach, filmmaker and Sandblast Patron)

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