Offering refugees a new identity

Almost 80 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide because of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. That is nearly equivalent to the entire population of Germany. 40% of these are children below 18 years of age, that is an estimated 32 million children. Refugees children are five times more likely to be out of school than other children.

In Jordan, one of the top hosting nations, over 660,000 Syrian refugees are trapped in exile. Approximately 80% of them live outside camps, while more than 140,000 have found sanctuary at the Za’atari and Azraq refugee camps. 93% of refugees in Jordan live below the poverty line (The current international poverty line is $1.90 per day). In addition, studies show 60% of Syrian refugee households include a person with disabilities, and 1/5 of refugees in Lebanon and Jordan have a disability.

Refugee experiences during conflict, emigration, and resettlement leave them at increased risk for health and medical conditions. Depending on the stage of their refugee, displacement or asylum-seeking journey, refugees face different trauma. There is hardship at all stages of displacement, making the resettlement process in a foreign environment a complex and uncertain one. Research from the UK suggests that upon arrival, asylum seekers are five times more likely to have mental health needs than the general population and more than 61% will experience serious mental distress. Data additionally shows that they are less likely to receive support than the general population.

Through the ITTF Foundation, we provide relief through a regular, fun physical activity of table tennis to build a new identity, well-being, dignity and hope.

The programmes focuses on the sport and physical activity, offering fun sessions with growth and development. Gradually, as the participants returns to training, and starts to commit to regular sessions, a dynamic is created. providing an outlook on the longer term as the individuals return to training.

We provide a new identity, not that of a refugee but an athlete, a table tennis player, an equal human being. Whether in the camps or in host communities our programs look to offer a human touch, a form of relief and mental break from the hardship of their situation. We look to build relationships, a community identity between those who play together and ultimately pride and dignity for those regularly attending. We do this through dedicated project leaders and/or coaches from the communities both in refugee camps and in host countries.

We additionally look to develop those interested into coaches, who act as role models to the children and show a potential professional path and new dream.

Drawing from a disability and education assessment among Syria-crisis affected populations in Jordan, what refugee children who attend school like most about school, is present in our sessions:

  • Something to do, a recreational activity
  • Play and fun with peers
  • Personal development and growth in learning a new skill and seeing improvement
  • Go to a new environment and have a change from home


Our Actions

Global Compact on Refugee Pledge Signatory

In December 2019, the ITTF and the ITTF Foundation signed the Global Compact on Refugees pledge. This pledge includes three commitments:

    • To promote and ensure access for all refugees, without distinction of any kind, to safe and inclusive sporting facilities. (ITTF Foundation)
    • To increase availability and access to organized sports and sport-based initiatives for refugee and hosting communities, actively considering age, gender, ability, and other diversity needs. (ITTF Foundation)
    • To promote and facilitate equal access to and participation of refugees in sporting events and competitions at all levels. (ITTF)

For more information on the Global Compact on Refugees: Click Here

For more information on the organisations who signed the Pledge and what they are doing: Click Here


Dream Building with Refugees Projects

Nittaku Dream Building with Refugees

Azraq Dream Building with Refugees


Ping Pong Alkmaar

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