“They are a population that has lost everything, and even hope is starting to fade. Darfur United gives them a sense of being part of something greater than being what they are now labeled: a refugee.” ~i-ACT Founder/Director Gabriel Stauring
Since 2005, the Founder and Director of i-ACT, Gabriel Stauring has visited Darfur 11 times, namely-the refugee camps along the Chad/Sudan border. The non-profit’s volunteer arm, Stop Genocide Now, has garnered international attention and now, i-ACT is essentially creating a soccer team made up of the best players from the refugee camps along the border.
The team is called Darfur United.
In addition to his numerous visits to Darfur, Stauring has spearheaded campaigns such as the 100-Day Fast for Darfur, Darfur Freedom Summer Vigils, Camp Darfur, Darfur Fast for Life, and is featured in ‘The Enough Moment’ by John Prendergast and Don Cheadle.
Athlebrities was thrilled to interview this amazing man about issues related to Darfur, the refugees in that area, how the beautiful game can change lives, and what we can do to help. I opted to run the interview, unedited, in its entirety because, quite frankly, every word is important. Continue reading
Former NBA Star Manute Bol Building Schools in the Sudan
“The children are the future of Sudan, regardless of the region they come from,” Manute Bol.
Manute Bol was once the NBA’s tallest player, standing an impressive 7’ 7” tall. The Sudanese born baller spent almost a decade shooting hoops for the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat. After he retired in 2004 and the novelty of his height wore off, people seemed to move on…lavishing their adoration on players who land three-pointers, sell overpriced signature shoes made in a Chinese sweatshop or hawk lawnmowers instead of hosting a charity event. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the least bit surprised to find very little information on Manute Bol’s latest humanitarian adventures circulating the Internet.
But I did find my ‘needle in the hay-stack’ via two photos that someone was smart enough to snap…Earlier this week, Manute spoke at a rally for action to end the violence in Sudan at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Who knew? Apparently, only one media outlet (AFP) is running the story…makes you wonder if anyone is paying attention to humanity…
Anyway, Bol has been actively kicking butt in efforts to get funding for a school he’s building in Sudan. Just a few weeks ago, Bol hosted a fundraiser in West Hartford where he spoke about the importance of the school being built because right now, classes are currently being held “under trees” in the western Sudan area of Darfur. “My dream is to build schools across south Sudan because with education you can have a decent life, find a job and improve,” said the Man, “But we must also support the people of Darfur because, just like us, they too have suffered.”
What Bol is referring to is ‘uniting Sudan’…while I’m no expert on the War in Darfur, it seems to me that if anyone can do this, it would be him. (Along with Dikembe and Bono of course)….Bol really is doing everything he can to help reconciliation efforts in south Sudan where the war has claimed thousands of lives, including 250 members of his own family. “What happened to us in the south is now happening to the people of Darfur,” said Bol. (Tensions between the Muslim north and predominantly Christian south of the country add to the conflict).
Some help for the thousands of Darfur refugees who have fled to the south comes from one organization, US-based Sudan Sunrise. “We believe that reconciliation is fundamentally essential for the future of Sudan,” said Tom Prichard, director of Sudan Sunrise. “There is now a chance which wasn’t present in the past. We must seize this opportunity to establish good relationships between the north and the south.” Sudan Sunrise even enlisted volunteers from Darfur to help rebuild schools destroyed in the war. “The response was extraordinary,” said Prichard. According to the UN, only two percent of children in south Sudan finish primary school.
I’m watching you Manute, I’m watching.
As always, thanks for reading. Delinda@athlebrities.com
Soccer Babes With A Splash of Tonic Please
Luca-Toni-Peppe-Roni: Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what this is all about, but it’s Luca Toni and it’s Friday and I get to have fun on my blog…Bayern Munich’s sexy Italian striker Luca Toni (L) played ‘table football’ on the world’s largest table against comedian Matze Knop® at the “f.re.e” travel and leisure trade fair in Munich. Seems that Toni is representing Italy at the stand…that’s about all I can figure out about the ‘event’ but it did lead me to this ridiculous video where Knop performs his latest single ‘Numero Uno,’ a bizarre and embarrassing tribute to ‘Luca Toni, pepperoni’…
The Beautiful Game for All
While we have fun with our soccer babes, it’s important to remember the children around the world who don’t get the chance to play the beautiful game. Recently, there was a soccer tournament in Juba (Sudan), which was used to reach out to an entire generation of children who have been traumatized by the civil war. Although the war ended four-years ago, more than half the kids didn’t finish their primary education…as we know, they’ve all got a Right to Play, so let’s not forget to help.
The Right to Play World Cup is planned to take place at Stamford Bride May 22. If you’re like me, then the following info should warm your bones like a topless David Beckham or a knee-sliding post-goal Drogba…
- The Right To Play World Cup is a unique opportunity to live that dream and play on the hallowed turf of one of the world’s biggest football clubs whilst supporting a global sport for development charity working in 23 countries across the globe. We believe that when children play, the world wins! It’ll be a chance for you and 9 of your colleagues to live out your playground fantasies while supporting the valuable work we do with young people around the world. When: Friday 22nd May. Where: Stamford Bridge, Chelsea FA full 5 a-side footy tournament on the pitch with full pitch finals. Form a team of 10 colleagues and compete for the title of Right To Play World Champs. Why: Enjoy a once-in-life time experience of playing at this famous stadium and support the Right To Play aims of providing sport and play programs to vulnerable children. Chelsea Quiz Evening – The World Cup will be followed by an evening’s entertainment at the stadium, with a sports quiz and exclusive sporting prizes.
Basically, you get to play at Stamford Bridge and party like a rock-star with the players while supporting a damn good cause. While I’m not really into running on the field, I’d make an amazing cheerleader or towel girl, so pa-lease, take me with you. RIGHT TO PLAY.
David Beckham can play anywhere he wants…AC Milan or the Galaxy-I don’t care…but good gawd Beck’s…for the love of soccer, stop taking your shirt off and causing me to revert to ‘huh’ instead of ‘charity’.
As always, thanks for reading. Delinda@athlebrities.com
Tracy McGrady’s Journey
Dikembe Mutombo is the Bono of the NBA. His infectious humanitarian spirit has rubbed off on some of the greatest, including Houston Rocket teammate Tracy McGrady. The Mutombo effect. That’s what I call it. If it werent for this 7’2” beast we may not have as many ballers lining up to support the need for aid in Africa. McGrady was influenced by Dikembe to travel to Africa, but wasn’t entirely hip on the situation there. “I had no clue what genocide was, and I’m still learning about it,” he said while visiting refugee camps in eastern Chad. “I really don’t know what I am going to see.”
What he did see has been chronicled in the new documentary “3 Points.” Last year, T-Mac had a first hand look at three African refugee camps. Working alongside documentary filmmaker and photographer Josh Rothstein and humanitarian John Prendergast of the Enough Project, the films just been completed and is looking for distribution. A great article in the LA Times today explains T-Macs reaction to the trip, what he plans to do next, and how he plans on rolling out the T-Mac effect among players willing to kick in $75k to build new schools. “Some of the players need to be educated,” McGrady says. “But some of them are caring guys, know that something has to be done and are willing to help.” The NBA will be airing “3 Points” to its players and hopefully the films three points will be drilled home: Three strategies to fight genocide: Peace, Protection and Punishment. So far, T-Mac has enlisted his Florida high school as a sister school to a new school in Chad, and gotten donations from Derek Fisher and Jermaine O’Neal. Indeed Tracy McGrady is a mighty-mighty-fine man.
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As always, thanks for reading.