Dear friends and supporters,
Much has happened since the start of 2016. In this late spring edition of our newsletter we are thrilled to share an update of new projects we're supporting and the launch of both SAF and Run the Sahara 2017.
Launch of Saharawi Artivism Fund (SAF)
Sandblast director Danielle recently returned from the Saharawi refugee camps where she worked in close partnership with SCAP Campaign, a local grassroots group, to launch SAF (Saharawi Artivism Fund). Aimed at Saharawi civil society, SAF seeks to support projects that are volunteer-based to encourage activism and community engagement in the camps, especially among the youth. SCAP are a youth-led movement created in 2015 to protest the illegal exploitation of Western Sahara's natural resources. Together we selected the first 5 volunteer-based initiatives to get funding through SAF in 2016:
Studio-Live becomes a women's project
During her trip, Danielle also worked closely with Sara McGuinness, who has been providing sound engineering training in the camps for Studio Live since 2012. She was in the camps to re-engage with Studio-Live, now officially run by the National Union of Saharawi Women (NUSW) in the camp of Boujdour. It is being headed by Shaia Wali, our top Studio-Live trained sound engineer. The women shared information about a number of exciting projects they have in the pipeline to create weekly half-hour radio programmes and do recordings with female poets and singers. Sandblast and Sara McGuinness (through LCM) will offer support over the next year to make sure Studio-Live can get up and running to become a professionally-run studio and as a centre for training the next generation of Saharawi sound engineers in the camps.
Cultural Centre in Al-Auin camp
During her trip Danielle was joined by Anisah Bhayat, who is visiting the camps for the very first time and out there as this goes to press! A budding architect, she approached Sandblast in April to offer her time and skills to help oversee the design and reconstruction of a new cultural centre in Al-Auin. The existing one was badly damaged by the October floods of 2015 and Sandblast will dedicate some of the funds raised through Run the Sahara 2016 to rebuild it.
Stave House in the Sahara pilot completed
Meanwhile, project leader Violeta has also recently come back from the camps after two incredible months of music and English teaching through the project Stave House in the Sahara. She has worked with a group of 30 children in the primary school of Lal Andala, in Boujdour camp, together with 3 Saharawi trainees, Tekwen, Gejmula and Fatimetu. Their salaries were funded by Sandblast.
Violeta is developing this project in collaboration with Ruth Travers from Stave House and the Saharawi cultural and educational authorities. Stave House in the Sahara has recently launched acrowdfunding campaign to raise funds for a follow-up course in September-December 2016.
Run the Sahara 2017
We're now in full gear preparations for our annual fundraising and awareness-raising event Run the Sahara. The SaharaMarathon organisers have just announced that the next race will take place on 28 February 2017 in Smara camp. Get your running shoes ready!
Check out our newly created Run the Sahara 2017 JustGiving Team Page, learn about our fundraising goals, and get inspired to start your training NOW!
Mid-summer Western Sahara Festival
On July 2nd, Run the Sahara 2017 will officially launch at our upcoming Western Sahara festival at hipster east London venue Hundred Years Gallery in Hackney.
The event will also include a presentation of Stave House in the Sahara and its progress to date, the English premiere of two new documentary films on Western Sahara, and an evening of music and poetry. You can't miss it!! Tickets are a suggested £5 donation to cover the costs of the event. For more info and to book, go to eventbrite.co.uk.
Stay tuned to our blog and social media for new updates.
Keep in touch!
The Sandblast Team
News about Sandblast & Western Sahara