Every year on April 6 the Olympic Movement celebrates the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, an annual acknowledgment of the power of sport to drive social change, foster community development, and promote peace.
To celebrate April6, the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, the IFSC launched the #ClimbersforPeace initiative. The climbing community threw massive support behind it, joining the digital #WhiteCard campaign, and combining this symbolic gesture with a donation in support of Peace and Sport's "Live Together" programme in the Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan.
The #ClimbersforPeace initiative perfectly fits within the theme "Behind each #WhiteCard there is a story," highlighting how single individuals who believe in the transformative and unifying power of sport can act together and have a positive and concrete impact on disadvantaged communities.
Funds collected through this initiative have been allocated to support the 2021 April6's celebrations for the beneficiaries of the "Live Together" programme. This programme positively impacts over 350 girls and boys, who participate in weekly training sessions of Kickboxing, Self-Defense, Table Tennis, and Teqball based on the Peace and Sport Methodology and run all year round by refugee coaches. It teaches them peace values like respect, self-esteem, and commitment that will guide them into the future. It supports them in making new friends and building a social circle that fosters a sense of belonging. As part of the programme, events and celebrations are regularly organised, including celebrating the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Such activities provide the opportunity to present to the broader refugee community living in Zaatari camp the benefits of these sport practices and are a platform to spread messages of acceptance and inclusion.
This year, celebrating April6 in Zaatari camp was even more important, as the refugee population is more isolated than ever. The donations of the climbing community supported the organisation of digital training sessions run by the refugee coaches of Kickboxing, Self-Defense, Table Tennis, Teqball, and Taekwondo. Through these sessions, girls and boys experienced peace through sport with the encouragement of Champions for Peace.
Joël Bouzou, President and Founder of Peace and Sport, declared:
“Climbing allows to build up trust in others and self-confidence, and at Peace and Sport we are proud to implement Climbing activities as part of the ‘Atelier sportifs’, a programme supporting disadvantaged youth in France. We would like to warmly thank the IFSC for once again mobilising its community on April 6. The #ClimbersforPeace initiative demonstrates how sporting federations, athletes, and fans can concretely contribute to peace-through-sport worldwide efforts.”
IFSC President Marco Scolaris said:
“The #ClimbersForPeace initiative meant a lot, especially in the current times. The entire climbing community has been given a chance to prove its strength, its unity, and the response has been great. What we achieved together this year, though, is just a starting point: we will continue supporting Peace and Sport and their field programmes, committed every day of the year to make the world a better place through Sport Climbing, supporting our friends of Peace and Sport every April 6.”
About the "Live Together" programme
The "Live Together" programme implemented in Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan, in cooperation with UNHCR, Blumont, ITTF Foundation, WAKO, and FITEQ. It provides weekly training sessions of Kickboxing, Self-Defense, Table Tennis, and Teqball run by refugee coaches, and aims to reduce marginalisation and disengagement and improve refugees' psychosocial and physical well-being. It contributes to foster gender equity and social cohesion among refugees and the host society.
As part of the programme, over 170 Syrian refugees could participate in official coaching seminars; seven refugees have been selected to become coaches, and benefit from a stable job. In addition, more than 350 kids benefit from the training sessions based on the Peace and Sport Methodology.
Since 2017, the programme contributed to reducing the feelings of marginalisation and disengagement of the refugee population. To improve the physical and emotional well-being of the refugees improved thanks to the physical activity and the values transmitted through sport.
The “Live Together” programme is recognised in the 2020 UN Secretary General Report on Sport for Development and Peace as an initiative that strengthens the global framework on SDP.
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