Join me in "Kicking Off" the Rachel Corrie Gaza Sport Initiative!
I've decided to fundraise for the Rachel Corrie Gaza Sport Initiative because I am passionate about creating safe spaces in Gaza that celebrate unity, athleticism, community building, leadership, and economic growth. Learn more about my cause below!
The Rachel Corrie Gaza Sport Initiative, consisting of the Rachel Corrie Ramadan Football Tournament and Rachel Corrie Tournament for Athletes with Disabilities, provides a safe place for sports enthusiasts to gather through athletic events that transcend factional identities and allow neighbors to come together as friends, and as Palestinians. The projects are a success when people participate and experience a level of enjoyment, play, normality, and a positive sense of community that is otherwise absent in Gaza due to the persistent pressures of military occupation and closure.
The initiative is named for Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American peace activist from Olympia, Washington, who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer on March 16, 2003, while undertaking nonviolent direct action to protect the home of a Palestinian family from demolition.The tournaments are a reflection of her legacy and a source of great pride and excitement for the people of Gaza.
Rachel Corrie Ramadan Football Tournament (Summer):
The 2016 Ramadan Football Tournament will take place June 15 – July 1, 2016.
Features of the 2016 tournament:
From the organizer:
"The Rachel Corrie Tournament is so special and important in so many levels: workers, players, audience and the local economy. It also strengthens the relations between people of Gaza and people of Olympia, and reflects a positive outlook for people of Gaza about the western societies away from politics. It is also connected with the concept of the right return to our original villages to the next generations."
"The Rachel Corrie Ramadan Football Tournament is a celebration of the spirit of the Palestinian community in Gaza. It is an opportunity for people to get together for fleeting moments to look past the scars of war, the ongoing struggle under siege, and the anxiety of the pain that is yet to come, and seek unity, togetherness and the love for sports.
Gazans are resilient people. Their struggle is deep-rooted and recurring. But they always find a way to prevail, and somehow to survive. The Ramadan tournament, which carries the name of Rachel Corrie, whose memory is cherished by all Palestinians, is one platform that helps Gazans articulate, yet once more, their insistence on their love for life, and hope for the future, despite every attempt at denying them life, and depriving them of hope. It is a project that I fully support and endorse. It is pure in its intentions, and noble in its message. Please support the tournament, this year and every year."
–Dr. Ramzy Baroud, Palestinian-US author, editor and journalist.
Rachel Corrie Tournament for Athletes with Disabilities (Winter):
The Tournament for Athletes with Disabilities helps connect those with disabilities to the broader Gaza society, affirms the place of the disabled in Gaza society, and provides an avenue of accomplishment and fun in the sphere of athletics. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for female athletes to participate in a public forum, an unusual occurrence in Gaza.
The tournament plays an important role in highlighting the international focus on persons with disabilities during December, as reflected in the December 3 International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and connects Gaza's disabled to those in other parts of the world. In 2015, 150 men and women took part in football, table tennis, and basketball tournaments, and a wheelchair marathon, providing a sport forum to showcase the skills of athletes who are deaf, amputees, paraplegics, or have suffered from polio.
Funding provides all the basics: stadium rental, supplies and preparations, new footballs, and other necessities. Funding also covers extras that make these tournaments special to the community, like small prizes and a community Iftar dinner.
The tournaments are planned and run by organizers in Gaza. This on-the-ground project ownership empowers our partners to develop excellent leadership, communication, and organizing skills. The tournaments also provide economic opportunity for local workers and vendors.
RCF goes to great lengths to establish formal granting agreements, to vet individuals involved in the tournaments, to conduct follow-up interviews with organizers, and to receive reports after the tournaments. Detailed administrative and personal reports, photos, and video from past tournaments can be found on www.gazalife.org and www.rachelcorriefoundation.org.
The current fundraising goal is $18,000*, which will fully fund both tournaments for 2016.
*Any excess funds raised will be specifically designated for future tournaments.
Just a small donation will go a long way to helping me meet my goal for the Rachel Corrie Gaza Sport Initiative. Will you help me?