Darfur Athlete Profile: Coaches and Teachers

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Coaches and Teachers

Camp Oure Cassoni
Sudanese

The Coaches and Teachers of Darfur have a tough job. The schools in Camp Oure Cassoni are in shambles. Steel poles and wooden sticks provide the frame for each classroom. Mix matched tarps are strewn together in an attempt to create four walls and a roof. But many have holes where water floods in when it rains, and yet they are still expected to teach, and their students to learn. Many of the sides of the tents are frayed, and none are secured to the ground allowing for the wind, and rain to come through. Since the classrooms are tarps, the heat is almost unbearable and one begins to sweat immediately. How would our teachers be able to cope?

teachers.JPG Resources for the teachers, and their students are slim to none. Only a handful of classroom tents have benches, and even then it is only two or three. Chalkboards can be found in much of the same state, scattered throughout the school, leaning against random tents.

Outside of the tents is where the teachers transform into coaches, helping choose teams, and facilitate games, when they are given a resource to do so. At one time, a humanitarian organization built a basketball court, and raised soccer goals. But they don’t have balls to practice with and their swings sets are empty.

How does a coach or teacher share his or her knowledge under such conditions? Almost everyone has had a coach or teacher that has been a role model to us, how would our role models feel if they were faced with these conditions?

Share the stories of those left behind — Bring the Dream to Darfur

Katie-Jay keeps i-ACT running on several levels. Much of her work entails coordinating partnerships with other grassroots organizations and implementing the campaigns developed by Gabriel and seeing through the details. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Sociology and a focus on Community Development. She has previously worked as a community organizer in Thailand, Guatemala, and with grassroots organizations across the United States.

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9 Responses to “Darfur Athlete Profile: Coaches and Teachers”
  1. Gayle Rogers says:

    Dear KTJ,

    As always, your writing brings a moment in the lives of others into sharp focus……. particularly with such a parting question. (How indeed!!)

    I have no answer just overwhelming admiration for the strength of the coaches and mentors and teachers at Oure Cassoni – pressing on no matter what – and giving the one thing they can to the generation before them.

    There is a dignity and sense of hope in that type of mentoring/teaching that cannot be measured…….and the re-building of Darfur will depend on it.

    Take care of yourself,

    Gayle xoxoxox

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Dear Gayle,

      The parallel of the Olympics is one that has struck me deeply as I used to play soccer for the Olympic Development Team, and in college when I was younger. And to make the comparisons between the opportunities that I had, and what these children have, strikes a cord of blaring inequality. I know there are many differences between the way our friends here are living and the way that we live, but I hope that the Darfur Athlete Profiles and the footage we have taken this trip that more and more people will make the same staggering realizations.

      Your letter to Gabriel brought tears to my eyes, Gayle.

      In peace, ktj

      • Gayle Rogers says:

        …..and his reply brought tears to mine! :)

        Thank you for being so awake and aware and connected – and you have become one of those mentors yourself.

        Have you realised that yet? I really hope so.

        hugs and love and THANKS,

        G. :)

  2. Azra says:

    Dear KTJ and Gabriel,
    as always your footage brings me to tears…
    i am very proud to know you both and admire you for you passion to do this work with love and care for the people in Darfur.

    personally i have many great teachers in my life and with beautiful lessons they provided me, i learned to change my self, my life for the benefit of all. when i read 8 years ago: BE THE CHANGE U WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD by Gandhi that truly started to change my life for the better! he was my first big teacher. what would Gandhi do, now? i would ask my self every know and then…one of the changes i did was to stop being a consumer! living in a very consumer driven country is not easy, but it is easier then u think! so, for last 4 years i have stopped buying anything that is made in China. i limit my self to buy minimum of clothes, since we have soooo much!! i support local stores, farmers and artist.
    as u know for many, many years, everything is made in China. if we buy stuff from China then we are supporting their business as usual. WE NEED TO STOP THAT! please, my brothers and sisters all over the world do not buy anything from China or anyone that supports genocide in Darfur! we as a consumers need to step up and see what we r doing around us and change our lives. we cannot wait for anyone to change something for us. this is one simple thing that we can do: support local business, not China’s machinery that runs on Sudan’s oil!
    BE THE CHANGE U WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD!
    start changing your self for peace and justice to all!
    paz, peace, sellam, pax!

    Azra Sehic

    ps. thanks to switch to darfur alternative olympic ceremony. i don’t have TV anyway, but i would not watch one dream, one world made by China anyway….

    • elaine says:

      Well said. I have switched to darfur alternative olympic ceremony.
      Yes we know what needs to be done, but will it, as we all have to stick together but I am afraid money talks.

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Our dear friends Azra!

      Thank you so much for following our journey and standing with the very people who feel what you have felt. I agree that we need to bring our actions down to ourselves for at least one day, if not our entire lives. To live simply and without regret of funding atrocities through our consumerism. It is something that many people shy away from – making change within themselves. And it is something mass movements also stay away from in order to not alienate those who want to take action but continue to live their same life.

      Thank you for being a model for us all. In the past I have been very good at buying less, and purchasing more second hand. It is reminders, from people like you, that help me realize it is making a difference, a movement is gathering!

      In peace, ktj

  3. rigmor says:

    I spent some time in Oure Cassoni, when it was not yet a formal camp, back in 2004. Reading your report brings back memories and thoughts about the children and the people I met during those days. The Zagawas made a trong impression on me, in how they faced their challenges.

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Hi!

      I am glad that we were able to represent what Oure Cassoni is really like, and that we were able to help all those memories come flooding back. The stories that so many have to tell! You would be interested to know that about ½ of Zone C – from the outskirts to the school – has been swallowed by the desert, most people have moved to the other side of Zone C closer to the market. There is almost nothing left to show that people once lived there.

      Best, ktj

  4. elaine says:

    It is such a disgrace. I hear of all the billionaires that exist. How many houses, how many cars do you need, how many meals can you eat. Lots of compassionate people give a few pence to help, so why cant the very rich help these poor people. TALK IS CHEAP. I believe that poverty could be a thing of the past if more time and money is poured in to helping these poor people.
    Please stop this suffering NOW.

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