« Supporting refugees instead of taking advantage of them »
First African athlete to win the prestigious New York Marathon in 1994, and holder of multiple world records in long-distance running, Tegla Loroupe is a sporting icon and a committed athelete. Since 2003, through her foundation and academy, she has been helping to make sport a vehicle for peace and education in Africa
What is your vision of sport and its impact on society and individuals?
TL : I want to participate, through sport, in creating a society that embrace sports diversification and inclusion and diversity, breaking the barriers of the perception that cannot do sport. Sports promote a healthy society. It creates opportunities for the young people to make use their talents and to address challenges. Inclusive sport can be use as a tool to achieve other important human needs, such as education, peace, unity and harmony.
Through your Foundation, you are active on the issue of refugees. What kind of programmes do you offer?
TL: Until 2015, we only had activities based on athletics but today, we have several disciplines such as taekwondo, decathlon, boxing, etc. and we create more events.
The camp is a multipurpose. We provide technical skills like computer skills, driving and livelihood programmes like agriculture. We run a global empowerment programme.
Th inclusion of refugee populations through sport is an eminently political issue. What would be your expectations or demands of policy makers in this regard?
TL: I would say the question addresses the challenge that always exists when tackling refugees and forced migration issues. Policy makers should welcome refugees in their respective countries, support them where necessary instead of taking advantage of them, listen to them, help their origin countries achieve peace, provide job opportunities and so on.
Interview conducted in collaboration with the platform Sport en Commun, which works to connect the world of sport and development. Two projects for the inclusion of refugees through sport are to be supported on the platform:
- The “Sports for the Refugees” project, led by the NGO YARID (Young African Refugees for Integral Development) founded in 2007 by young Congolese refugees living in Uganda.
- « Sport for Palabek refugee children’s sanitary autonomy » led by AWYAD, a humanitarian NGO created in 2017 in Uganda whose activities focus on the empowerment of women, youth and vulnerable children in Palabek. More informations on www.sportencommun.org
Interview from Sport and Citizenship Journal 51 : Sport and Refugees, conclusions of the FIRE project