Zambian Olympian brings sport to refugee camps
16 | 3 | 2018
Moved by the plight of displaced people in his own country, Zambian Olympian Jonathan Chipalo OLY decided to do something to help. The former 400m sprinter, who competed at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games and is General Secretary of the Zambian Olympians Association, has been developing a project to bring sport to refugee camps in the hope that he can positively impact the lives of children living in forced displacement.
Zambia, traditionally a safe haven for people fleeing surrounding East-African countries, currently hosts more than 60,000 refugees, primarily from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Rwanda.
Working in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Commissioner for Refugees in Zambia and supported by the Zambian Olympians Association, Chipalo’s programme will provide opportunities for refugee children to participate in sport, while also using the Olympic values to educate them and help them to develop life skills. Chipalo has also established ties with the Lusaka Youth Football Academy to allow children from the camps to take part in football training sessions.
“I have been training the children in athletics, teaching them throwing, jumping and running skills, while also educating them on the rights of children and the dangers of drugs. We have also set up a youth football team. My aim is to create opportunities for the children to access sport in a safe, inclusive environment and give them hope for the future. All children deserve the chance to play sport, to have some normality and simple enjoyment in their lives,” said Jonathan Chipalo.
Jonathan is currently looking for sponsorship opportunities so that he can expand the programme to reach even more children living in refugee camps in Zambia.