Sport and refugees weekly: 25 April 2021
Sport and refugees weekly: 25 April 2021
Want to know what's happening in the world of sport and refugees? Here are the top headlines for the week ending on 25 April 2021.
On 22 April, Nick Sore, Senior Refugee Sports Coordinator at the UN Refugee Agency, spoke with SportWorks to discuss how sport can be used as a medium to help those communities that have been forced to flee. Sore spoke about the transformative power of sport in bringing communities together, and its role in social inclusion and mental wellbeing.
The UN Refugee Agency and Olympic Refugee Foundation co-organised the first Sport for Refugees Coalition Stocktaking Event on 14-15 April. The Coalition aims to help refugees through sport, and the event was planned to re-connect partners as the two-year anniversary of the Global Refugee Forum approaches. The event saw members discuss their pledge developments, and the concrete actions that they have taken and impactful activities that have been organised.
When the conflict in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, escalated in 2016, Felicien Okanda fled with his mother and siblings to Nairobi, Kenya. Resettled in the Kakuma refugee camp, Okanda focused on playing football as a way to heal from the trauma. He built on his skills at the refugee camp, and is now a professional footballer for the Nzoia Sugar team. Learn more about him and his journey.
Since 2017, Amnesty International UK has marked April as Football Welcomes month, bringing football club foundations across the UK to put on events and activities to welcome refugees and asylees and highlight the role that football can play in creating a more welcoming environment for them. The programme has been inspired by Germany’s Welcome to Football programme.
Abdoulie Asim is a refugee from Gambia, resettled in Australia. He has seen many hardships, including being homeless for a period of time. But he has not given up on his dream to run at the Tokyo Olympics.
Asim came to Australia in 2018 to participate in the Commonwealth Games, as part of the Gambian team, but stayed on, fearing for his life due to his religious beliefs. One day, he would love to represent Australia at an international stage.
To mark Football Welcomes month, Goal Click teamed up with Amnesty International UK for a special series, to let refugees tell their stories through football. Since 2017, Football Welcomes has celebrated the contributions that refugees have made to football and the role the game can play in welcoming refugees to their new countries.
Asif Sultani and his Hazara family fled Afghanistan for Iran, in order to escape persecution. He started to learn karate as a way to protect himself from bullies, and is now hoping to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in karate, on behalf of the Olympic Refugee Team. His hope is not to win a gold medal, but to be an inspiration and source of hope for the millions of displaced children across the world.
14 April is marked as the day of action for the English Football League, to highlight the importance of football’s community work. This includes work done to support refugees, including Middlesbrough’s Football Welcomes activities.
To mark the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, refugee children from the Zaatari and Azraq camps in Jordan took part in online training sessions, organised by Peace and Sport and the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation. The sessions were aimed at instilling the positive values of sport in the young participants, and encouraging them to stay active and healthy during this time.
On the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, UNHCR launched a social media video, titled “The Journey,” telling the dramatised story of a female refugee athlete who has fled her home to escape conflict and persecution. The short video aims to make the viewer build an emotional connection with the protagonist. Currently, over 60 refugee athletes and Para athletes are training in the hope to compete at the Tokyo Games.
This information has been compiled by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.