Inclusivity wins as young Syrian refugees in Scotland earn red belts
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A group of 19 Syrian children and young adults earned their red belts in Irvine, Scotland recently following a 16-week programme funded and organised by the Loretta Doyle Judo Foundation.

The foundation is run by Loretta Doyle, world, European and Commonwealth Games Judo champion.

Loretta had seen how her sport can change one’s life and this awarding ceremony was much more than simply earning a belt. Parents, guardians, and families were all present to witness North Ayrshire’s commitment to inclusivity.

Following this programme, another began for Ukrainian refugees at the Irvine Judo Club. 

The significance of these sessions is to use judo to integrate those now living in Scotland, in to their local communities. 

The North Ayrshire Council refers to these judoka and those in similar situations as ‘New Scots’, so who better to award these belts and honour their new status, than double Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Sarah Adlington. Judith McCleary, the chief executive officer of JudoScotland was also present.

Also supporting the Refugee Programme is Fighting Films. The company donated 30 judogi and provided many more, waving any profit.

"They have magnificently earned a coveted Red Belt awarded not just for their ability to take a fall without hurting themselves, or techniques to grip and throw: but with sporting friendship and with courtesy for their opponents," Loretta was quoted by the European Union Judo as saying.

"To engage in Judo requires courage, balanced with self-control, modesty and honesty. These kids have demonstrated all of that. This is their first step on the journey to Black Belt. They have my respect for the manner in which they have joined the judo family.  

"It has been superb fun and enjoyment with lively young people full of the zest of life which will continue with new classes starting in September."

Click here to read the full article.

Main image: European Judo Union


Operating Team


United Kingdom
Sustainable Development Goals
10 - Reduced Inequalities
3 - Good Health and Well-Being
Target Group
Displaced Persons

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