IFMA has always advocated sport’s innate power to transform lives and bring light where there is darkness. It gives people a sense of belonging, achievement, and inspiration. We would like to honour World Refugee Day by taking a look at the recent initiatives of which IFMA has been involved in collaboration with United Through Sports and Right To Play.

This special partnership launched into action during the 2018 SportAccord Convention in Bangkok, when the United Through Sports initiative strove to bring a group of displaced youth leaders from the border camp of Tak province to Bangkok to take part in the United Through SportsFestival. In addition to participating in the festival, the youths had the chance to engage with some incredible sport personalities and role models like Pascal Gentil, Peace & Sport Champion for Peace, NBA star Bismack Biyombo and football legend Christian Karembeu during the popular Good Morning Muaythai session to which many SportAccord Convention delegates and sport dignitaries participated as well.

Through the initiative, funds were raised and equipment donated for the camps leaving an important and vital legacy behind. UTS CEO Julia Govinden who travelled to the border camp said:

“No child should ever be left out. Every child deserves opportunities in life and a chance to grow. The status of a refugee is not a choice, so we must continue to show compassion, to have empathy and to extend our hand to those who need it. The Bangkok Urban Youth Tournament, a by-product of the SportAccord 2018 United Through Sports Youth Festival, is a perfect example of working as a team, pooling resources and giving displaced children happiness and hope. I can only encourage these types of collaborative initiatives as fundamentally, together we can do so much more.”

This year, IFMA once again in collaboration with UTS and RTP brought the refugee children down to Bangkok once again for the Bangkok Urban Youth Tournament which provided multiple fields of play at the Sport Is Your Gang BKK play space.