“I feel very excited to start giving a look to the locations of Ponds.” iACT program coordinator Oumda Alfateh Younous Haroun (Back row, center)
For the first time ever, a completely refugee-led expansion of iACT youth soccer and early childhood education programs for Darfuri refugees in Chad.
REFUGEE CAMP OURE CASSONI, CHAD | Tuesday May 31, 2022 — With World Refugee Day coming up soon, iACT is excited to share that an all-refugee team has led the expansion of iACT’s Refugees United Soccer Academy (RUSA) to refugee camp Oure Cassoni in eastern Chad. RUSA is a youth soccer academy for children affected by conflict, and this expansion means that now the children of all 12 Darfuri refugee camps along the Chad/Sudan border have access to this sports program focused on wellbeing and peacebuilding.
This follows the April expansion of iACT’s Little Ripples (LR) early childhood education program in nearby camp Am Nabak, as well as the November expansion of RUSA to refugee camps Gaga and Treguine. These program expansions were completed from start to finish by iACT team members currently living in refugee camps themselves.
Am Nabak expansion team. From Left to Right: Mahamat Djabir Defallah (RUSA Coach), Makhboula Mahamat Abakar (LR Teacher), Amani Khamis Abakar (LR Teacher), Oumda Alfateh Younous Haroun (Program Coordinator), Leila Ismail Mahamat (RUSA Coach), Ache Mahamat Abderahman (LR Education Director), Souleyman Adam Burma (RUSA Manager)
Members of this launch team included iACT program coordinator Oumda Alfateh Younous Haroun and RUSA manager Souleyman Adam Burma, as well as RUSA coaches and Little Ripples teachers from five different refugee camps. They came together from camps Goz Amer, Djabal, Kounoungou, Mile, and Touloum to bring iACT programs to refugee communities across eastern Chad.
“It is important to have RUSA in all the camps because today RUSA is like school…children are learning many things like soccer, respect, behavior, friendship, and how to work like a team, [alongside] mindfulness, and hygiene, and health.” – Souleyman Adam Burma
This refugee-led expansion was made possible by a grant from the UEFA Foundation for Children. As part of the work to shift power and ownership to refugee and conflict-affected communities, the hope is that this is just the beginning. iACT looks forward to similar teams beginning to bring soccer and early childhood education to more refugee communities in the region.
Notes to Editor
All 12 refugee camps on the Chad/Sudan border now have Refugees United Soccer Academies (Am Nabak, Bredjing, Djabal, Farchana, Gaga, Goz Amer, Kounoungou, Iridimi, Mile, Oure Cassoni, Treguine, Touloum).
5 refugee camps along the Chad Sudan border now have Little Ripples Ponds (Am Nabak, Goz Amer, Djabal, Kounoungou, Mile)
Both RUSA and LR are built on a trauma-informed approach and include mindfulness, peacebuilding, and wellness aspects.
These expansions were implemented from start to finish by the refugee-led team; from meetings with local government officials, to choosing locations, to training, to hiring.
The new Ponds and Academies are already beginning to thrive, with hundreds of children enrolled.
Each soccer academy employs two men and two women as coaches to lead girls and boys ages 6-13.
Little Ripples supports the social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development of children ages 3-5.
Based in Los Angeles, iACT is an international action organization with a mission to inspire a more mindful humanitarian system. Our vision is a world where the dignity, humanity, and agency of conflict-affected people are recognized, affirmed, and supported. iACT facilitates refugee-led education, sports, and human rights programs in camps around the world. For more information visit: www.iact.ngo
Press and Partnership inquiries:
Sara-Christine Dallain | iACT Interim Executive Director