The Charity


I am running this Sahara Marathon with the UK based charity: Sandblast (charity number 1115288)

Sandblast promotes the human rights and conditions of the Saharawi people of the Western Sahara taking a "voices and visions" tack. Rather than simply supplying food or medicine (which, while needed, is not as desperate due to various Spanish charities), Sandblast teach the Saharawi's about music and other arts and provide them with the technology to record and/or sell their work.

Why sandblast?

What I love about this is that it's a really different approach to teaching-a-man-how-to-fish. By helping them make the most of their cultural heritage and natural artistic talents, Sandblast are empowering the Saharawis to be able to take life into their own hands and even if they can't live where they want to live, at least they can make their quality of life a little better.

Here's a video from a Studio Live project event in London this year:

For 2013, Sandblast are planning to raise £20,000 to pay for five mobile recording sets (studios in other words) which will be sent to the refugee camps in order to build upon the work already done there.

Our fundraising, and therefore your contribution, is crucial to the success of this goal and we, no, the Saharawi people need your help.

The Saharawi People

Wikipedia has much to say on the Sahrawi people, the Western Sahara and the conflict surrounding it and I don't want this site or marathon to become a political blog for me (though I do recommend you read my blog piece about the politics in the region), so I want to focus on the people and how this has affected them and what we can do to help them and how you can help us to achieve this.

This is the refugee camp at Tindouf where we will be staying and running for the week
The camp at Tindouf - where we'll be living for a week. 
Imaging living there for 35 years!

The Saharawi (or Sahrawi) people are supposed to live in the Western Sahara (just down from the top left corner of Africa, about level with the Canary Islands - see map below).

Unfortunately, this ex-Spanish colony has been overrun by Morocco who are occupying the country in the hope that everyone will give up complaining about it and go home.

Sadly this means that, despite protestations from the UN and other international organisations, the Saharawi people have been displaced and have been forced to live in refugee camps just inside the Algerian border for over 35 years now.

Checkout the following BBC profile on the Western Sahara and the political situation there if you're interested in reading more and seeing some other photos.

The following video (although a little old now) gives you an idea of what we can expect and how wonderful the people are and how worth while this is.

Please help us and donate at my JustGiving Page and remember to claim the Gift Aid.

Thank You.

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