Taekwondo at Za'atari

Post date: Oct 24, 2013 1:33:51 PM

South Korea are boosting morale and fitness with young refugees in Jordan.

Fast punches and high kicksThis UNHCR video shows "tough kids getting tougher." The initiative funded by the South Korean government seeks to teach young Syrian refugees taekwondo and self-control. These are children who have experienced violence first hand and whilst learning restraint will take time representatives of the South Korean Embassy believe the martial art can help.

Training trainers

A South Korean named Dr Lee is leading the programme. His team has a long term plan to train older refugees to take their own classes in the months to come. Mohammed Rashid is one of the adults being trained to take on his own classes. In the video he describes how these children have "no system in their life anymore" because the schools are closed. The routine of exercise can help fill this gap.

A system, a routine

Lee concedes that whilst it is perhaps too soon to measure the impact, and difficult to do so, they have received a mainly positive reaction from the children. In the video Dr Lee explains that taekwondo helps children change the way they think. The classes help the children become more peaceful and respectful towards others; it is all about discipline. The children themselves seem to recognise this too with one participant, Ibrahim, explaining that it "nourishes the brain and the muscles then the morals too."

Bashir, another participant says that it was very hard at first but after a week or too we "suddenly had a lot more energy and strength".

It is this energy and strength that is vital for these tough youngsters facing such a tough future.

Declan Murray for Sport and Dev