World Refugee Day: ‘Badminton Joy Spread Like Light’

World Refugee Day: ‘Badminton Joy Spread Like Light’

Growing up in a compound in Jordan, Hadeel Alomari, now a BWF coach, was surrounded by counties besieged by crises and wars, and that accommodated refugees from Palestine, Iraq and Syria.

Having discovered a love of badminton aged five at a picnic, she knew it was the sport for her.

“I was an active child. I had so much energy and what helped is I was raised in a compound full of children. I spent my afternoons playing all kinds of sports like football and badminton,” said Alomari.

The Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan has been a huge success and increased the popularity of badminton.

In November 2019, BWF delivered a training course to educate Syrian refugees as badminton teachers using the BWF Shuttle Time Schools Programme in Azraq Refugee Camp, Jordan. The initiative continues to be part of BWF’s commitment to further humanitarian, peace and development-supporting activities.

Alomari has been part of Shuttle Time from the beginning, which involves conducting workshops with groups of teachers to provide training in teaching badminton to children.

“When badminton courses started in the camp, everyone loved it and the number of interested kids wanting to learn and play increased each month. Badminton spread like the light within the camp, and everybody felt it was a great addition to their lives,” revealed Alomari.

A refugee Alomari worked with on the programme said: “I’m very grateful somebody finally thought of us from this aspect with organisations giving us food, shelter, education and jobs to survive and be safe. We’ve been in the camp for years and we needed someone to grant us something different, something fun for the kids to feel they have a normal lifestyle.”

Alomari also spoke about the pleasure badminton has continued to bring to her life and the people she had met along her journey.

“Some of them are still my closest friends after over 17 years of friendship. Badminton is a big part of my life. It’s the perfect way to spread joy, use children’s time for something useful, make great friends and build strong character. Badminton is one of those rare sports that can make someone feel so deep, to experience the ultimate happiness within seconds of the final point of a great win,” she added.

Alomari acknowledged how the project has developed over the years.

“We’ve come a long way from where we were 10 years ago. Hopefully we will keep spreading the popularity of badminton and how accessible it is to everyone in Jordan with the great support from BWF.”