UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, kicked off its #WithRefugees World Tour on Friday, 6 April 2018 with a sports day at Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp.
The #WithRefugees World Tour, which runs through 1 October, is made up of dozens of public events to raise awareness and inspire more action for people who have been forced to flee conflict or persecution.
The day-long event in Za’atari will include sports workshops featuring international athletes, including celebrated Egyptian Modern Pentathlete Aya Medani.
Home to some 79,000 Syrian refugees, the event in the Jordanian refugee camp is being held in collaboration with the Peace and Sport to mark the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
Other events on the tour will include a fashion show in Chicago featuring fabrics made by refugees in Kenya, a refugee football match in Ireland, a photo exhibit in Paris, a week of events on Jeju Island, South Korea and judo competitions and workshops in South Africa. The tour will end on 1 October at UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award Ceremony in Geneva.
“By taking action, people can show solidarity and care about refugees. Each individual action counts,” said UNHCR’s Chief of Campaigns, Events and Goodwill Ambassadors Leigh Foster.
“The #WithRefugees Campaign has been mobilizing public action, innovation and solidarity for refugees globally – showing when we join together, we can all make a difference for families forced to flee.”
In Za’atari refugee camp, the day will culminate in a torch relay with young refugees – including children with disabilities, each carrying the torch along 150-200m of a 5km course.
“We are very happy to team up with the UNHCR for the launching of the #WithRefugees World tour. Today more than ever, sport can be used as a vehicle to heal, bring a sense of normalcy and support social inclusion programs for refugees in host communities and camps,” said Joel Bouzou, President and Founder of Peace and Sport.
As well as promoting UNHCR’s #WithRefugees campaign, events at Za’atari will also promote the Peace and Sport’s White Card initiative, which encourages people to post photos of themselves holding a white card on social media as a commitment to peace efforts worldwide.
The World Tour will be a central part of the #WithRefugees Campaign in 2018. Since its launch in 2016, the campaign has recorded more than 18 million actions for refugees including almost 2 million signatures on a petition calling for all refugees to be able to live in safety, have access to education and be able to support their families.