Mission 89 programs featured prominently during the five-day Darfur Dreams Initiative in July that brought together internally displaced youth and children from local camps.
The Mission 89 educational programs were implemented in workshops that used sport to empower future community leaders with skills that can be transferred into their daily lives.
The workshop, held over three days, was attended by 50 young men and women from 13 different Internally Displaced Persons [IDP] camps and five states across Sudan.
Mission 89 presented a cooperative, team-building, and decision-making toolkit delivered by Margaret Belewa, Mission 89 Program Manager, to participants that took into consideration the political and cultural context of a region that has been heavily impacted by many years of conflict.
Participants were trained on creating “safe spaces” for events and sustainable projects within their communities. This was done through facilitation on the development of a child protection policy and code of conduct and within the framework of 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child [UNCRC].
Workshop participants also included Kenyan long distance runner and Save the Dream ambassador, Tegla Loroupe, Sudan football hero Abdul Aziz Zakariya, and former Qatar national team goalkeeper, Ali Fouad.
“Educating young people through sport and the framework of the UNCRC is a powerful tool,” said Lerina Bright, Executive Director of Mission 89.
“Vulnerable young people can easily be exploited and abused and fall prey to people with bad intentions. Mission 89 aims to empower young people with the tools to make informed decisions about their futures and Darfur Dreams Initiative was an excellent platform to do this. Thanks to Save the Dream for asking Mission 89 to be a part of this project and for their vision in developing this initiative.”
The workshop was part of the Save The Dream festival that included football matches between local communities represented by teams from Abu Shouk, Zamzam, and Salam IDP camps. The festival, held at El Fashir Stadium, was attended by approximately 23,000 members of the public, national and local government officials, dignitaries, and international personalities.
“A displaced person lives in a very difficult, insecure condition and trusts nobody,” explained Mission 89’s Margaret Belewa. “Idleness and hopelessness leads to vulnerability and an opportunity to be easily exploited. Learning new skills is a challenge because levels of concentration is low. Mission 89’s training methodology of using games makes training fun. Life skills, trust, bonding, and team work can be built with a game in less than two hours. This was proven in North Darfur this July.”
The workshop prompted a positive response on social media.
“Amazing program connecting young leaders from around the world to advance peace and coexistence,” wrote Facebook user Alawia Yahia.
Darfur Dreams Initiative saw Mission 89 partner with Aspire Academy and Save the Dream Foundation. The event was funded by Qatar Fund for Development and Qatar Charity and was supported at the local level by the Sudanese Sport Organization for Peace and Development.
“Save the Dream and partners like Mission 89 will always do their best to contribute to the development of sport and sport for peace programs in Darfur,” said Massimiliano Montanari, Executive Director of Save the Dream. “I am very delighted by the decision of our main partners, Qatar Fund and Qatar Charity, to support the establishment of 40 sport centers in the region. This is extremely important since it demonstrates the determination of our coalition to make a real change in Darfur, at all levels, and to set the basis for future activities.”