Best Practice

Zambia Olympians use sport to inspire hope

25 | 9 | 2019

Building a more inclusive society is the ethos behind a project being run by the National Olympians Association of Zambia.

Olympians in Zambia have been reaching out to children in local communities and within the refugee population to create opportunities to play and take part in sport together.

A kids and youth cross country run was recently held in conjunction with a charity, the JM Foundation, where Olympians ran with the children to encourage and inspire them. Community football matches and training sessions have also taken place as a way of connecting the various communities and engaging children from different backgrounds using sport and the social and health benefits that come with it.

Zambian Olympian Jonathan Chipalo OLY, General Secretary of the Zambian NOA who runs the project, was moved by the plight of displaced people in his own country and wanted to do something to help. Zambia is currently a safe haven for well over 60,000 refugees, primarily fleeing violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This is the second year the former sprinter has been involved in running activities and he hopes that by offering children better access to sport he can positively impact their lives.

“My aim is to give the children hope for the future by offering them access to sport and social interaction in a safe, inclusive environment. All children deserve the chance to play, regardless of their background or the difficulties they have endured. The simple joy of kicking a ball around or going on a run with friends can make all the difference and it’s wonderful for Olympians to be able to give back in this way,” said Jonathan.