Inclusive Physical Activity For Refugees

9th Edition of the ICSSPE’s hands-on Seminar Terminated
11/14/2016 13:41

The 9th edition of the Seminar Communities and Crisis – Inclusive Development through Sport took place in Rheinsberg, Germany, from 31st October until 5th November, 2016. ICSSPE hosted around 45 participants and trainers from 18 countries, and looked for ways how Physical Activity should be delivered to help refugees dealing with uncertainty.


During the seminar the ICSSPE team interviewed some of the workshop facilitators and participants, to understand the importance and usefulness of the seminar. The interviewed were asked for their opinion concerning the relevance of the seminar.


Lydia la Rivière Zijdel from the Netherlands, who led through several seminar elements, is a high-ranked wheelchair martial-arts woman (3rd Dan Karate, 3rd Dan Aikido), self-defence and martial arts instructor, sport and physical activity trainer and patron of the Lydia Zijdel Foundation. She sees a need for such events “because the world is having so many and increasing numbers of refugees either through disaster or wars who are in camps and need empowerment to continue with their lives. It is an added value to distribute the knowledge of sport as an empowerment tool for these groups. Especially the situation of women, the elderly and disabled refugees require this knowledge and skills even more”.


Emmauel Igbokwe, a young student from Nigeria who is currently studying at the Friedrich-Alexander Universität in Erlangen-Nürnberg, in Southern Germany described his learning experience as follows:

“Prior to attending this seminar, I only had my focus on applying my studies in safe communities. The potential  of physical activity and sport in providing relief to survivors of disasters and persons with a disability never occurred to me! Also, I have become more sensitive to socio-cultural factors and how they can interact with interventions. I have learned to ‘assume nothing’. Importantly, this seminar has provided me with a new challenge to take on, I see myself reaching out to survivors of disaster with sport in the future.”


A participant from the Philippines, Maria Zenia Dulce-Mariveles, who works at the University of the Philippines, described her learning experience as “some sort of awakening. The variety of activities will help me in creating new programmes towards sports development, sports advocacy, community service and research trust. Some topics will guide me in making decisions and in propagating these sports and physical activity programmes. I am now highly motivated to take on the responsibility of making a difference in my own field and in helping my fellow victims. In some ways I have done that before, but, as I learned, there is a lot more to do.”


Dean Ravizza who is Senior Research Practitioner at the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution and faculty member in the Department of Health & Sport Sciences at Salisbury University, USA summarised:

"This seminar brings together researchers, practitioners, field workers and academics as well as students to discuss key issues on the relation of applying sport and physical activities in a wide range of crisis situations. The seminar creates a strong bridge between theory and practice, spanning a range of disciplines that play a key role in crisis situations."