Asma’ Abdulrahman Sleiman is a 16-year-old girl who lives in the Azraq refugee camp. The young girl has been passionate about sports every since a young age having practiced the different ones that were on offer at the camp. When she heard about THF’s Taekwondo Academy, she joined right away, wanting to keep busy and have something to do.
Asma believes that taekwondo has had an important impact on her life, stating, “it didn’t take me much time to find great pleasure in practicing taekwondo and actually perceiving its great influence on my personality and behaviors, starting from time management all the way to building my self-confidence”. Asma currently holds a brown belt and hopes to one day obtain a black belt. “I want to be able to compete in international tournaments and one day become a coach life Mr. Asif”, the Academy’s instructor.
Suleiman Al Ahmad, 16 years old, joined THF’s Azraq Academy when it first opened, one year and a half ago. He was influenced into taking up the martial art after being suggested to do so by a friend who told him many positive things about his experience with the sport. He claims, “my friend managed to convince me easily and I registered right away!”. Suleiman has progressed fast and now has a red belt, hoping to reach the black belt by the end of 2018.
Taekwondo now forms an important part of the teenager’s life. “Taekwondo has introduced me to so many good people. I now have many friends who practice the sport too.” Suleiman also believes that the sport has helped him build a strong personality and become more mature. However he is most grateful towards taekwondo for having provided him with a dream: “I wish to represent the refugees in the Olympic games and become an Olympic champion”.
Born in Syria, Rayan Abdulrahman Sleiman first learned about taekwondo in 2016 when THF’s Azraq academy first opened its doors. Now 13 years old, she has attended every training session since, having build up a passion for the sport. “I currently have a brown belt and I am determined to reach the black belt very soon.”
Rayan claims that taekwondo has taught her how to defend herself which has helped her become braver and feel safer. She is also very grateful towards the martial art as it has helped her feel more at home in the camp: “When I first arrived here, I didn’t like it at all, but ever since I began taking part in taekwondo sessions, I have started to feel like I actually belong here”. Taekwondo has helped Rayan engage more with her surrounding and make many new friends.
At THF’s Azraq Taekwondo Academy, refugee children get the chance to learn sports key values, such as teamwork, fair-play, respect, cooperation, integrity and tolerance, and develop better physical and mental well-being. Aside from proper taekwondo training, they take part in different activities such as meditation, demonstrations, promotion tests, competitions and endurance races. Learn more about the academy here.