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Souliman = Leader

I first met Souli in 2012, when he tried out for the first Darfur United team that was to travel to Iraqi Kurdistan to compete in a soccer World Cup for groups of people not recognized by FIFA. From the first day, it was clear that he was a leader.

Souli took initiative in bringing together a group of guys from different refugee camps and from different tribes. They were not ready to come together off the field, but Souli made it his mission to have the team be, as he said, “United. It cannot just be a word on our shirt. We have to be united as people, representing all of Darfur.” Souli made the team as its captain.

Souli is now a coordinator for our activities in all refugee camps. His main role is to support the Refugees United Soccer Academy coaches, but he is also involved in Little Ripples and all that iACT does in the camps. Souli, along with our main camps coordinator, Oumda, traveled a long way to meet us for work in three camps to the north of theirs. It’s important work, and we need their expertise as we expand our programs.

While walking in camp Kounoungou, Souli did something that to me is so, well, so Souli. It was a group of us walking around the camp looking for suitable homes to host Little Ripples Ponds when an angry, loud dog approached us barking and showing his teeth. He was trying to intimidate us (it was working), and didn’t seem like he was going to stop his charge. Souli, without saying anything, very nonchalantly walked toward the dog, as if he was going that way anyway, and put himself between the angry teeth and our group. The dog stopped. The group kept on going, without anyone noticing anything (except for me), and Souli followed us after we were a distance away.

That’s Souli, every day in everything he does. He puts others first. He is a true leader.


Help iACT continue to do what it does best:

Support refugees in the forgotten corners of the world through soccer and preschool.

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