Editor’s note: This was originally posted on darfurunited.com by i-ACT Director & Co-Founder Gabriel Stauring.
The 15 come from Darfur, but they were children when they left their homeland. They now carry a label that does not define them: refugee. The 15 players of Darfur United are individuals, complex and fascinating, and they have hopes and dreams that break free, beyond the confines of their refugee camp homes.
They are refugees, but they are so much more. The 15 are also football players, and they are Darfur United teammates. But that is far from enough for defining them. Among the 15, we have: comedians, poets, singers, dancers, teachers, students, husbands, brothers, and fathers. Maybe most importantly, we have 15 leaders.
They are not perfect or stereotypes. They do live in extreme conditions that just got more extreme because of drastic cuts in food and services. The 15 do not want pity. They DO want opportunity.
The 15 embrace their roles of being the spokesperson for their people. They are from different tribes—all the major ones in Darfur—and from different camps. They have very different personalities and interests, but they truly feel united, and they hope to be an example for other refugees and for all Darfuris.