Join Irish sports stars for an online exercise class on World Refugee Day

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The “Sanctuary Strength” class with rower Claire Lambe takes place this Saturday, June 20th.

Irish sports athletes stand alongside refugees and join ‘social distancing’ exercise class on Saturday 20 June – World Refugee Day.

For the 10th Social Distancing Sanctuary Runners Class held during the pandemic, participants are called upon to stretch, squat and board with Olympic rower Claire Lambe.

Some of the sports stars involved including Tom Barr, Ciara McGeehan, Patience Jumbo Gula, Sonia O’Sullivan and Brian Fenton.

“Over the past 10 weeks, the Strength classes of the sanctuary have been a way to connect with our live delivery friends, ”said Claire Lambe.

“We are now asking people to join us on Saturday morning June 20 for a half hour of online exercise.”

“Among the participants will be sanctuary runners currently living in direct supply centers in Ireland and other participants from around the world.”

Created in 2018, Sanctuary Runners organizes meetings to allow Irish people to run, jog or walk alongside refugees and asylum seekers in direct service as a sign of solidarity.

Bringing together over 2,000 runners across Ireland over the past two years, the movement has fostered friendship and respect through exercise.

“For most asylum seekers and refugees, social distancing in the centers is next to impossible,” Graham Clifford said.

“People share dining rooms, narrow hallways, bathrooms and toilets, and bedrooms. It’s stressful.”

“But thanks to the #SanctuaryStrength initiative, we were able to connect with refugees every week, we train together, chat online throughout and motivate each other to continue. Our motto is ‘Let’s come back stronger’.”

There are now Sanctuary Runner groups in Ireland in Dublin, Wicklow, Meath, Longford, Westmeath, Monaghan, Waterford, Cork City, Mallow, Killarney, Tralee, Kenmare, Limerick, Clare, Mayo, Galway and Sligo.

World Refugee Day takes place on June 20 each year and honors the courage and determination of those who have been forced to flee their homes as a result of war, conflict, sexual violence and persecution.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us that everyone, including refugees and asylum seekers, is vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus,” says Eoin O’Neill, UNHCR (United Nations Refugee Agency).

“However, it has also shown us that our strength as a community lies in our solidarity. No one is safe until everyone is safe. The crisis has shown us that we each have a role to play. Play Everyone Can Make a Difference, Every Action Counts.

Countries are now starting to emerge from the lockdowns imposed by COVID-19, at a time when there is a global effort to rally against racism and xenophobia.

World Refugee Day is an opportunity to reaffirm the fundamental principles of equality and dignity for all.

“Our hearts go out to the more than 70 million forcibly displaced people around the world and in particular the many refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland who live in a state of flux”, Perry Ogden, of Sport Against Racism Ireland, noted.

“We are very disappointed that we cannot host our World Refugee Day Fair Play Cup with UNHCR in Ireland this year due to Covid-19, but we are very happy to support – in solidarity, the friendship and respect – the wonderful work done by Sanctuary Runners.

You can join the course by clicking on this link from 11 am on Saturday June 20.


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