As fellow members of the human family, we face a crisis.
There are about 20 million refugees in camps throughout the world. This figure does not include those internally displaced inside their own nations, nor those seeking asylum. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), one in every 122 of our fellow humans is now a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum.
If this number were the population of a country, the UNHCR reports, it would be the world’s 24th biggest nation. Most heartbreakingly, half of the world’s refugees are children.
It is time to act. The World Taekwondo Federation, which administers the Olympic sport globally, is doing just that. We have helped establish the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF) in April 2016 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Its mandate is to deploy taekwondo coaches to refugee camps worldwide, bringing the benefits of fitness, sport, self-defense, self-belief, and self-respect to those who need it most. Taekwondo is an economical, easily deployed deliverable that can help raise the quality of life for refugees in camps worldwide, both children and adults.
As an International Federation of the International Olympic Committee, the WTF is fulfilling its social responsibility. And our sport has precedents for helping people overcome adversity.
Taekwondo was a core curriculum item in Korea, building a resilient national physique and a determined national attitude at a time when the devastated nation was birthing an “economic miracle.” Now a globally popular Olympic sport, it will, in 2020, enter the Paralympics in Tokyo. And since 2008, the World Taekwondo Peace Corps has been dispatching coaches on missions to developing nations worldwide.
I hope you will consider joining us and becoming one of the founder sponsors of this new NGO – one that is needed now, and will be needed more urgently than ever in the future.
Yours in the spirit of sport and humanism –
President, World Taekwondo Federation