Every year, in February, hundreds of people from around the world travel to the Saharawi refugee camps in the Algerian desert, to run in either a 5km, 10km, half a marathon or full marathon race. This event, organized by the Saharawi camp authorities, in partnership with international support, began in 2001, as a way to draw attention to the forgotten plight of the Saharawi. Participants travel to Tindouf, the nearest town, and for a week, live with a Saharawi refugee family during their stay in one of the four large camps, learning their story and experiencing the legendary hospitality of this exiled desert culture.
The Sandblast charity is the official facilitator, in the UK, for those wishing to participate in this annual event. In 2009, 24 people from the UK participated and helped raise over £14,000 for the Sandblast created Saharawi Artist Fund (SAF). It finances projects in the camps to culturally and economically empower the Saharawis through the arts.
In 2010, Sandblast hopes to recruit 100 people for the 10th anniversary of this international solidarity sports event and raise funds to set up a mobile professional recording studio and train Saharawis to run it.
Registration deadline for Running the Sahara 2010: November 15, 2009 [changed on Sept 11]
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