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Turning pain into power, Campaign Bootcamp 2014

Ruth Muigai, a campaigns intern, interviewed Raga Gibreel, a Sudanese refugee, to find out how she had benefitted from Campaign Bootcamp 2014.


“It was the best six days I have had since coming to the UK” Raga Gibreel tells me.   Campaign Bootcamp was a great learning experience. Raga met human rights campaigners from all over the world: Latin America, USA, Africa and other regions. She learnt effective campaign strategies and was made aware of how to use the media and engage with politicians – something she had not previously considered for her campaign.  Campaign Bootcamp also emphasised the need to take care of her personal health and wellbeing.


It was a rigorous six days.  The programme started at 8am and ended at 8pm every day. Raga explained to me that the experience inspired self-growth and made her aim for high goals for her organisation.   Raga Gibreel is a Sudanese refugee who has been living here in the UK for the past six years. She comes from Sourth Kordofan where there has been war on and off for many years. Raga’s story is a moving one.  Sadly it is representative of what many women and children face when there is political instability in a country. When she got to the UK it took her some time to get over the trauma and stress she had experienced during the war. Raga explained to me that her friends were the biggest support system for her.  Also helpful were Sudanese community groups.


The Trauma of civil war


She started volunteering for different human rights organisations, including at a detention centre, with Article 1. Raga couldn’t help but think how lucky she was because she met so many Sudanese refugees detained there. Fleeing from your home during war is very traumatic.  Many people die from lack of proper food, poor health facilities, and the long journeys can be difficult. Women and children are the most vulnerable as they are sometimes raped and even sold into sex trafficking businesses. She began to realise how much better off she was than many other Sudanese people.  So she decided to help bring change to her country.   She started a small organisation called Green Kordofan. Her aim was to provide the children in Yida refugee camp in Sudan with a sports and nutrition programme.   After completing Campaign Bootcamp Raga held a fundraising event for her organisation on 20 December 2014.  Some of those she had met at Campaign Bootcamp came to support her.  “I made friends for life at Campaign Bootcamp and I would not trade the experience for anything.  I really appreciate the opportunity Article 1 gave me.” During my interview with her it was evident that Raga has suffered a lot of pain because of the war.  However, she is now turning that pain into power to help others. Article 1 is a human rights charity whose aims are:

    • To help asylum seekers from Darfur and other parts of Sudan to  navigate the UK’s complex immigration process
    • To collaborate with the British government and relevant organisations to improve the UK’s policy and procedure for Sudanese asylum seekers
    • To inform decision-makers and the public about the human rights situation in Sudan
    • To raise awareness of Darfur and Sudan amongst the public