Turkish Olympic Committee

Week 286 (6 - 12 April 2019)

For centuries, sport has played a positive role in society, whether safely channelling competitive energies at elite level or just providing fun and games at gatherings of family and friends. That is why the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), 6 April, as declared by the United Nations (UN) in 2013 and celebrated every year since 2014, is such a significant day in the global sports calendar.

Sport is a universal language and International Federations, clubs, athletes and other sports stakeholders across the world celebrated #IDSDP earlier this week in their own individual ways.

However, the Turkish Olympic Committee (TOC) went way above and beyond the more usual events to mark this important day.

The TOC opened a brand-new sports school for local children and Syrian refugees living in the Kırıkhan district of Hatay City, Turkey.

The school will provide approximately 300 children with sports shoes, sweatshirts and t-shirts, which have all been donated by the TOC. The children will then be able to attend the school fully equipped, where sports including basketball, athletics, archery, karate, wrestling and volleyball will be practised under the supervision of qualified instructors.

The UN stresses that sport is a fundamental right - the right of access to and participation in sport. By opening this new school, the TOC has helped give these children, who come from war zones, that right.

The new school is part of the TOC’s Support Through Sport Project, which contributes to Syrian children’s physical and social development through better accessibility to sport. By doing this, the TOC also gives children the opportunity to integrate peacefully into their new communities.

The project, which has been financed by the TOC, German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and Kırıkhan Municipality has helped to hire trainers, translators and technical officers to provide support to the refugees and local children.

TOC President Uğur Erdener said, “Since launching in Gaziantep in 2017, the Support Through Sport Project has provided hundreds of Syrian refugees living in Turkey with greater access to sport, enabling them to integrate into their new surroundings under a fun and safe environment.”

By opening this new school, the TOC has used its project to enable Syrian children to socialise with each other, as well as maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.

So, for the way it has allowed actions to speak louder than words through its continued support of Syrian refugee children without the opportunity to practise sport, the Turkish Olympic Committee is JTA Communicator of the Week.

Image: Twitter