Kaveh Mehrabi, Former professional badminton player, Iran.
On June 23rd, I will participate in my first ever Ironman triathlon –dubbed the most challenging endurance race on Earth - in Nice, France, raising funds to support young Haitians.
My relationship with Haiti started in March 2010, just weeks after the devastating earthquake. Answering Peace and Sport’s international appeal to donate sports equipment for children living in tent cities, I mobilized my network to collect badminton equipment and send it to Haiti. The purpose of this operation launched in cooperation with the association Solibad and called “1000 racquets for Haiti” was to bring back a sense of normal life to the thousands of kids affected by the tragedy and help them evacuate their trauma through sport.
Once the equipment was shipped to the camps, I took time between two tournaments to visit Port-au-Prince, where we organized a coaching clinic for 22 young sports educators interested in learning badminton.
As Chairman of the Athletes’ commission at the Badminton World federation (BWF), I worked with Peace and Sport and the BWF to help set up the FEHBAD (Federation Haitienne de Badminton), which was eventually founded in January 2012.
In August 2012, a 3-year program supported by Peace and Sport and the BWF was launched in cooperation with FEHBAD, using badminton as a tool for social integration and peace education for young Haitians at risk.
Today the program includes:
15 Haitian educators, who received specific training on organizing badminton activities with children (based on "Shuttle Time", an innovative self-study training program by the BWF).
Since September 2012, 32 schools in Port-au-Prince and provincial towns in Haiti benefit from a weekly 2-hour badminton session.
This program enables approximately 2,000 children aged 9 to 16 to play sport at school for the first time, using badminton to encourage structured behaviour and social reintegration.