The Badminton World Federation (BWF), through its partnership with UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency), along with the Lebanese Badminton Federation, has been on a mission to introduce badminton to Syrian refugee children currently displaced in the Bekka region of Lebanon.
Phase one commenced on 29-30 December 2018, with BWF staging a two-day Shuttle Time Training Course in Majdel Anjar. Around 20 Syrian male and female refugee youth workers participated in the training exercise, designed to equip them with the fundamental skills to be able to teach the sport.
The course was delivered by Ali Kazma from the Lebanese Badminton Federation, a registered Shuttle Time Trainer, with rackets, shuttles, nets and net posts provided by the BWF Shuttle Time programme to support badminton activity in the village.
A number of Shuttle Time workshops have since taken place, with community leaders continuing the programme and introducing badminton to the many Syrian refugee children living in refugee camps located on the Lebanon-Syria border.
BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer said the Federation was committed to promoting and support humanitarian and social development initiatives around the world.
“Badminton can be played everywhere, indoors or outdoors, and as such we see this project as a great opportunity to provide access to fun activities for these refugee children. At the end of the day, we want every child to have a racket in their hand and to have fun,” he said.
The BWF has a long-standing partnership with the UN, having launched the BWF-UN Badminton For All Project in April 2017 and partnering with the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) in 2016. Høyer said this latest collaboration creates further opportunity for badminton to make a difference.
“If we can contribute to a better life for others, what better way than to cooperate with the UN. It’s an honour then to have this chance to introduce badminton to more people.”
Nick Sore, Senior Refugee Sports Coordinator, UNHCR HQ, Geneva added: “The partnership with the BWF has provided opportunities for refugee young people to participate in meaningful activities, make new friends, have fun and develop new skills through the provision of training, resources, and badminton certification.
“UNHCR looks forward to continuing with this very positive collaboration with the BWF in other locations globally.”
BWF is planning further humanitarian, peace and development-supporting activities in the region, combining with the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF) and World Taekwondo (WT) to deliver fun activities for the many children and youth visiting the Azraq Taekwondo Academy at the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan.
In January, the two sports signed an MoU as part of a collaboration to promote and support humanitarian and social development initiatives around the world through sport.
Høyer said: “We see great opportunity in uniting together with our friends at World Taekwondo to provide avenues of sport and physical activity for the children and youth at the Azraq Refugee Camp.
“It makes perfect sense to join hands with other sports federations who share the same vision as us to maximise the impact of such initiatives.”
The badminton activation at the Azraq Taekwondo Academy will take place later in the year.