Badminton Outreach at Hope and Dreams Festival

Badminton Outreach at Hope and Dreams Festival

A badminton coaching session with refugees at the Hope and Dreams Festival in Jordan has sown the seeds of further developing the sport in refugee camps in the country.

The Hope and Dreams Festival, organised by the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF) and World Taekwondo on 3 May 2024, was being held for the second successive year. The festival aims to support refugee children by using sports to promote peace, hope, and dreams. It involves leveraging existing sports programmes to create a supportive environment for displaced persons, enhancing their physical and mental well-being.

Participants of the training camp.

BWF had earlier signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with THF in 2019, and subsequently worked with refugee children at camps in Jordan and Lebanon.

The outbreak of Covid stalled badminton activities in the camps, but the collaboration was revived for this year’s Hope & Dreams Festival, which saw the participation of FIBA Foundation and Baseball5, apart from World Taekwondo.

Two days prior to the festival, BWF Vice-President – Asia Jassem Kanzo and BWF Dubai Badminton Development Manager Jaffer Ebrahim and visited the Azraq and the Zaatari refugee camps, where Ebrahim conducted a badminton demonstration with refugee children, using Shuttle Time activities which enabled them to get a feel of the sport.

Representatives of Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation and BWF along with participants of the camp.

Then, for the Hope and Dreams Festival, refugee children were invited to the Jordan national training centre where they participated in a coaching clinic, which was conducted with the support of Jordan Badminton Federation. Overall, more than 600 refugee children participated in the festival, engaging in sports such as baseball, taekwondo, basketball, and badminton.

BWF aims to continue badminton outreach in the Azraq camp, with the possibility of extending weekly training sessions and developing talent. Over the last few weeks, a coach from Jordan, Naim Saleh Abdul Qader Al-Waqfi, started badminton sessions in the Azraq camp to initiate children into the sport.

Commenting on the impact of badminton at the camp, Jassem Kanzo said: “The Hope and Dreams Festival proves that sports like badminton are powerful tools for change, providing refugee children opportunities for joy, growth, and resilience.”