The people we support are at the heart of everything we do
16th June 2021
Our Sport For Good initiative, which launched earlier this year, does more than just provide access to sport. It also aims to positively impact the mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of the people who receive the items we deliver. Ramzi is one of the people we've been able to support through this initiative. We came to know of Ramzi through our partners Care4Calais, who shared his story with us.
We first met Ramzi sleeping rough in Maximilian Square in Brussels. Twice a week, when we distributed warm clothing and sleeping bags to the 400 asylum seekers in the park, Ramzi would help us unload, organise, and help translate peoples' needs.
A year later we met him again when he was sleeping in the makeshift jungle in Calais. Again, he kindly helped us distribute essentials to the other refugees housed there. One night it was so cold that we feared for people sleeping and not waking up. Sadly this happens. We lit a fire to keep warm and sat up all night talking as a group. That night, Ramzi told us that he and his brother had fled Sudan after being imprisoned and tortured. They were traded and enslaved in Libya, and mistreated in Italy. It took Ramzi four years to reach safety in the UK and sadly his brother died crossing the Channel.
Last week I had to deliver Ramzi, his brother's Death Certificate. Goods for Good had given me two footballs donated by Nike. I brought them with me. We pumped them up together and Ramzi told me that twice a week he plays football with some of the refugee children in the hostel to get them outside and active. When we had finished I asked if I could take a picture of him with the footballs. Here he is, Ramzi (pictured above), three years on from when we first met him, his brother's death certificate in his left pocket, two footballs at his feet, and a positive plan for the afternoon. Dignity, determination and resilience personified.
It can be hard to understand how something as simple as a football and a small act of kindness can reach someone in such a powerful way but when we hear stories like this we are driven to reach more people in need. Some of the people we support have been through the most unimaginable circumstances and for them these items provide purpose, hope and healing. You can learn more about our Sport For Good initiative here.