Let’s join our voices for World Refugee Day
World Refugee day, marked on June 20, is an occasion to reflect about challenges refugees are facing in their everyday lives and opportunities that could be offered in host countries. This day is also a moment to envisage refugees not merely as victims, but also as a potential in future development of the communities and their own wellbeing.
After the establishment of the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation in 2003, I began a challenging journey. The foundation is focused on peace and development that uses sport as a tool to bring people together, and to socially and economically develop Northern Kenya and the Greater Horn of Africa Region. Today, the Tegla Loroupe Foundation is a platform of exchange, healing and expression. It is also a space that provides an opportunity for refugees, coaches and trainers to find hope for the better future. These are some of the voices from our center:
John Anzrah- Coach and Olympian
My work as a coach for refugee athletes at the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation is very different from my previous position as a coach of the Kenyan Sprint Team. Young refugees at the Foundation were not originally athletes, thus they have been required to learn everything from the scratch. Initially they thought that athletics is “Running as fast you can”, but after few years of training they understood how important it is to train every day and stay focus to attain their objectives.
They also became aware about the importance of the mentioned sport-based program, which is helping them to become athletes in order to represent the millions of refugees and explain their story to the world. At the national level, this program is also helping them to build bridges with people from rival tribes and teach them to live together.
Garkuouth Puok Diep- Refugee from South Sudan and Long Distance Runner
I come from South Sudan were a terrible war occurred and forced thousands of children to flee usually without their families to neighboring countries. After years of wandering I arrived in Nairobi in Kenya in 2005, where I had to fight for my survival. One of my ways to survive was sport that took me out of Nairobi slums. One day, Tegla Loroupe and her staff saw my potential as an athlete and rescued me. In 2015, they brought me to live in Ngong at the Tegla Loroupe’s Foundation Refugee athlete’s camp. Tegla is a true mentor and inspiration for all the refugees living there. She takes care of us, provides us accommodation, food, training and sporting equipment. Additionally, the foundation offers us the opportunity to study and pays our school fees. I will start studying college in order to get prepared for my post-athletic career. We live in a world that must give hope to those most vulnerable.