Abbas has been crazy about parkour for 5 years, and has become a parkour teacher for YSR for the past 3 months.

Ali Asghar is our Muay Thai coach! He’s done a lot of sports in Afghanistan like Kung Fu, Wushu, and Football. In Greece, he started running and training Muay Thai for four years at Muay Thai Savage Cmp in Athens.

Chris has become a teacher of many things in Athens, including Taekwondo, Acrobatics, Fitness and Bodybuilding. He has been working with the organisation for 2.5 years now and is very advanced in his sports.

David started boxing in Kabul in Afghanistan. Mentally and physically it helped him a lot and he wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for sport! “Confidence is the engine that drives achievement so that’s why I’m still fighting and not giving up because confidence does not care where you came from!”

Fabiano Costa Coelho has been practising hatha yoga since 2006 and became Kriyaban in 2010. As a volunteer, he has taught hatha yoga with influences from other lines in Brazil and Greece. In 2022, he conducted upskilling training for yoga teachers and aspiring learners at YSR in Athens. His PhD thesis was on the relationship between humanity and nature, looking for ways to overcome the current social and environmental destructive course by promoting true happiness, which lies in making others happy.

Jamshid is 24 years old and originally from Afghanistan. He started Kickboxing in Afghanistan in 2012, and with a lot of effort he managed to get a black belt before becoming a coach. In the recent years, he participated in many competitions in Turkey. Currently he is living in Athens, and he is our amazing kickboxing coach. He is hard-working and will always try to do the best for himself and YSR community!

I’m Lucía, the volleyball coach of YSR. I’m 23 and I come from Spain!

I’ve been a professional volleyball player for several years, but I decided to take a break from the life I had and came to Athens to work as a volunteer, clarify my ideas, and get to know another culture. All these choices made me give up volleyball, a sport that I love so much, and I thought I will never play again. Luckily, one of my friends told me about YSR and everything that was done in it, and a few days later I was already part of the team.

I feel very lucky to have found and be part of this beautiful and healthy community, it is the best thing that could have happened to me!

Medine is the newest taekwondo teacher that has recently joined the YSR teaching community. Her classes bring in the whole community, especially women and children of all ages!

“I am Ruvi Matiyenga before I came to Athens I was practicing tennis with my school. I found yoga and sport during the summer of 2022 . Recently I became a building teacher for woman’s class , I enjoy seeing other women become empowered through the gym”.

Delphine joined YSR in 2022 as a Volunteer Coordinator. Prior to working with us, she worked in several NGOs in Greece in the field of migration and child protection. Delphine herself is an avid runner, has been playing hockey and tennis since she was 6 years old, and was a hockey coach for children throughout her highschool and university years. She’s also a big fan of dancing; sports have been a big part of her life. For Delphine, joining YSR means a new opportunity to bring together her passion for sport and community.

Hooman joined YSR in 2023. He comes from Iran and started to play basketball when he was 11 years old. He’s played in the best national basketball competitions in Iran and Greece (Eska), and was educated for 3 years as a basketball coach in AntetokounBros Academy. He also has a background in many other team sports.

Hello, my name is Clémentine, I am a 23-year-old French student. I am currently finishing my Master’s degree in International development and project management, and to do so, I recently started an internship in Meaningful Participation with Yoga and Sport with Refugees. In the following months, I will be working to try and make YSR as participatory and inclusive as possible: everybody should be involved in all the steps of the projects, and have an equal voice in all the levels of the organization. At YSR, we aim to do sport and projects with the people on the move (and everybody else!), and not for them. I am really excited to work with a multicultural and international team, and to be part of this welcoming community. I love learning new skills, languages, or about new cultures, and I think that YSR is the perfect environment to do so.
Since starting here, I have taken up yoga and basketball, and I’ve been loving it, as much as I have loved seeing the sense of community being created by such activities. Sport really does bring people together!

My name is Jamie, I’m a 22 year old recent graduate from the UK and Rwanda. I am excited to begin my 3-month internship at Yoga and Sport with Refugees in Athens, as part of the Fundraising and Finance team. Having moved around a lot in my life, I have always found sport to be a useful instrument in joining new communities, both through practice and as a topic of conversation. I am an avid supporter of Liverpool Football Club and have played football, rugby, and hockey throughout my life. In Athens I hope to get stuck into some kickboxing.

My name is Juliane. I grew up in Hamburg, moved to Vienna for my studies, and am now spending half a year in Athens for my internship with a focus on community building.

Especially the part of free participation, the possible entry into the studio for every! person convinced me. Creating a place that is a safe space, working together on it, and constantly looking at how we can build up the community through sport and intensive exchange encourages me a lot for community building.

In Vienna, taking part in a lot of feminist groups gives me drive and I am excited about how much strength and support we can create through sports and intense open talking together.

I also love long hikes, an evening run to Lycabettus Hill, I’m a trained yoga teacher, passionate about outdoor activities like cycling and surfing, and can’t wait to get into basketball and other sports practiced in the community.

Hi! I’m Laura, from Italy, and I’ll be working as a communications intern with YSR. I love the welcoming environment and the passion that drives everyone who works here at YSR. I am a photographer and I especially enjoy taking portraits, I love baking and eating the cake once it’s ready. Recently I discovered boxing and will join David’s class in Athens; at first I didn’t think I could like it and I could really be good at it, since I’m not very athletic, but it taught me that with training and determination you can achieve your goals and be actually good at it.

Hi! My name is Laura, I’m 24 years old from Germany and a community building intern for the next three months. I will work on organising events where our community can spend more time together and we deepen our relationships, both inside and outside the gym and the sport classes.

I love to clear my mind and burn off energy through sports, especially with Tabata sessions or running. So, it is perfect timing that we will have the Global Run soon, for which I am also in the organising team!

I’m eager to try out many of all the great sport classes that the gym has to offer, especially Muay Thai and Boxing which have already really hooked me. My personal challenge for my time in Athens is learning an handstand!

Hello! I’m Mathilde, I’m 24 years old. I’m studying Project Management and International Solidarity in France.

I’m coming to Yoga and Sport with Refugees for an internship. I’m currently working for the women participation project in Athens. The goal is to try to make the gym more accessible and inclusive for women and facilitate women participation.

I’m really interested in gender topics in international solidarity project management and I’m actually writing a thesis about that topic.

I’m Lotta, 23 years old, from Germany. I volunteered with YSR last year and love the organisation for their dedication to promoting a healthy community through sports, for the passionate team, and the incredible people I meet at the gym! This year, I’m interning in the fields of communications and fundraising. As for sports, I love yoga and climbing, and look forward to exploring new sports like basketball, kickboxing, or dancing.

I’m Safia, I’m 26 and from London. I really love the vision behind YSR and it’s been amazing to see their work in action. I have a background in International Development and an interest in migration and education. I’ve been practicing yoga for a few years now and I’m also excited to try hiking around the Athens area – preferably when the weather cools down!

Hello! My name is Cassiopée and I’m 22. I’m French, but I grew up in Africa and studied International Development in Canada. I was attracted by YSR’s mission and values of empowering displaced people through sport. I am really excited to join the organization as a Communication and Advocacy intern for 6 months. I love hiking and boxing and can’t wait to try yoga classes!


Hello, I have been interested in football since I was a child and because my five older brothers were the best players and they encouraged me to play football, I became a good player and was selected for the national team in futsal. I tried my best and came to Europe – my dream – to pursue football coaching. I forget my life’s problems only with football. I came to Greece in 2019 and I have been working with yoga sports for two years and a few months as a volunteer. I will follow my dream and reach my goal. I became a useful and great coach.

Since arriving in Lesvos, Ali was instantly attending volleyball classes. He has since become a volleyball coach, helping those coming to classes learn and slowly improve.

Basil Phoenix was born in Mytilene in 1994, raised in one of the suburbs of Attica and spending most of the summers and winter holidays of his childhood in Lesvos, always felt an attraction to this magical island. From an early age, he admired the arts of flow and circus but was unaware that a circus with no oppressed animals could even exist. Since then, he has tried and practiced most of the circus arts, preferring equilibristics and poi. He has attended a wide range of workshops varying from dance and theatre to aerial, floor and partner acrobatics, always in parallel with studying and practicing martial arts and T.C.M. From time to time, he has collaborated with small groups and the Sea Clown Sailing Circus and Clown without borders Sweden. Additionally, he was one of the founding members of Who Nose, a performers team which spread joy through shows and workshops around the Camps of Attica. He is an active member of Circus Lesvos and since 2021 he is working as a trainer at YSWR gym. He is excited about this collaboration!

My name is Hassan, and I teach the climbing at YSR, and also the boxing from time to time. It is my belief that you are braver than you believe you are stronger than you look and smarter than you think so believe in yourself.

Dance is a strong part of our culture, we don’t need to be waiting for Party, wedding or a concert to dance. We are dancing whenever we feel it’s time to dance, it can be a few hours trip, it can be a small gathering or whatever. I am Laila from Afghanistan. In Lesvos, since people are living in the refugee camp, there is not any possibility specially for women to dance That’s why I thought to make an opportunity for women even very small. I am not a professional dancer, I have never been in the dance classes before I just love to dance and it’s seems we are doing good all together. We are having fun and nice time in the dance sessions and you are welcome to join!

Hello everyone, this idiot’s name is Jooya Matin. My birth place is Afghanistan and I am 17 years old. My favourite sport is volleyball. I am kinda short for this sport, my weight is around 50kg and I play as a Libero. I began the volleyball training with one of my sweet friend Ali Naderi at the beginning of summer(2022). Ali and another kind lady named Marianne taught me the basics of how to play volleyball. And after a while, a funny coach joined us his first name is Daniel (his full name is too difficult to remember). We had volleyball training every day and one day Ali came to me and then he told me that he is going to leave the island along with Mr Daniel and then they asked me to be the next volleyball trainer. From then, I became a part of Yoga and Sport with Refugees. In this organization I received a lot of smiles, that is the biggest gain that I got from YSR. I love playing volleyball, because it gives me a positive energy and I am not getting tired of playing it.

My name is Mohammad Reza and I started boxing when I was 18 years old. I am happy that I am an athlete and I can tell other people too – help me in this sport. God willing, by the grace of God Almighty, I can reach good places. I am glad to be with Yoga and Sport – I got to know each other because all immigrants can do sports. God willing, I wish success for everyone.

I am Nematullah Nazari, the national referee and coach of the Afghanistan Muay Thai Federation and the multiple champion of the national kickboxing and Muay Thai teams. It has been a month since I became a refugee on the Greek island of Lesbos, and there I met Yoga and Sport, which is really a place of happiness and joy for me. I am grateful to each and every teacher and employee, especially the founder of the Yoga and Sport Association, for their efforts to guide the immigrants to good. They push positively. I also volunteered as a Muay Thai trainer in this group and I am proud to be a member of Yoga and Sport with Refugees.

Katerina is from Thessaloniki Greece, she is a graduate of the School of Economics. She has always been interested in the humanitarian sector and vulnerable social groups. She has been involved in volunteer work with the migrant, lgbtq+ community and with people with special needs. She worked with minor refugees and with drug addicts. She joined the YSR community in 2022, first as a Coordinator in Lesvos, then in Athens and now back on Lesvos again in a new position.

Maeve joined Habibi and Sport with Refugees right from the start in September 2021. She was first a volunteer in Habibi.Works and as soon as the project started she became a volunteer in Habibi and Sport with Refugees. Maeve is now a Coordinator with Yoga and Sport in Lesbos. Maeve studies international development studies at Cork University in Ireland and is passionate about Irish Football. Maeve has a great focus on creating community and making sure that everybody feels safe and supported.

Mahdi joined YSR on the 15th of May 2023 as a Coach Coordinator.

Before he joined us, he worked  as a volunteer in the NAPD (National Assembly of People with Disability) in Afghanistan. He’s also an English tacher in a training center and an English interpreter. He works in Parea now also as an English teacher and interpreter. He’s a big fan of music since his childhood and he likes football a lot.

For Mahdi , joining YSR means a door to a new world, new friends, and new goals.

I started working with Yoga and Sport in June. My studies in History and Archaeology, and my Master in Gender Studies can be helpful for women’s empowerment through sports and events and women’s classes. Since I was a kid, I have been practicing rythmic gymnastics, and later I attended krav manga and boxing classes. Pole dancing is my new interest!

I am Lucy, 25 and from the UK. I have recently finished a Masters in Humanitarianism, Aid and Conflict. I will be in Lesvos for three months and will be working with the communications team, on political awareness (as I am very interested in politics and governance) and also on CSR and schools outreach. I will also work with the coach experience team. I was drawn to YSR as I really believe in the power that sport and physical health has upon improving mental health, and the strong sense of community the organisation is centred around. I do lots of yoga and running but I am looking to learn some new sports when out in Greece. 


I started wrestling in 2000 because I liked the sport of wrestling and my father was also a wrestler and he was very interested in becoming a wrestler. I really like to teach other people and make them feel good. I have been with YSR since April 2023.

Ghulam Ali Rahimi, one of the sportsmen of Tekavaran Club, started kickboxing from his childhood due to his passion and interest in martial arts and participated in competitions and won colourful medals. He has been active in this field for seven years.

“The purpose of coming to YSR is to help those who are interested in this field and to present my own experiences, and I think that exercise is a way that keeps people away from substances, and I am very happy to be able to help others”.

Hajar started working as a climbing coach 2 months ago. Hajar is very into climbing and in general he likes to explore new things and especially mountains. Climbing is a new hobby for him, but the fact that he is a coach with YSR gives him the opportunity to explore his skills and become better in all levels.

My name is Dowa, I’m 16 years old and I’m a volunteer of YSR in Ioannina. I love being a volunteer because I really like doing sports with my friends of YSR. My favorite sports are volleyball, dance, and Muay Thai. In my future, I want to keep playing those sports. Through YSR, I improved my English skills and I learned a lot about different sports.

Kavin has been our fitness teacher for women since September 2022 and a volunteer of other sports since August 2022. She also likes practicing other sports and she’s an active part of Habibi.

My name is Mustafa. I started playing football four years ago and it was the encouragement of my friends and family that made me feel that I can and want to continue. Football gives me a sense of peace and the reason why I wanted to work in football in Habibi.Works: for my further growth in football and helping those who want to start playing football

My name is Shafiq Hussain, I am twenty-four years old. I am a Muay Thai coach in Ioannina. I like sports, especially Muay Thai, so I started to practice it. In addition to sports, I like social activities and I found that Habibi and Sport with Refugees is an environment that helps us to take advantage of opportunities and develop the skills we love. This is why I wanted to start being a coach, so that I can practice my favorite sport and serve those who love sports, especially those who like Muay Thai.

I have graduated from the department of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies from University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki. I have always been passionate about the humanitarian sector and fields related to refugee protection, GBV and child protection. I have worked before as a volunteer in different NGOs, where their main focus is with people with special needs, refugee children and the Roma community. I have previous work experience in the field of migration, while I worked with refugee women as a Front Office Administrator in Irida Women Center in Thessaloniki. Since I was little I loved sports and especially dancing. I myself have been a ballet and contemporary dancer for 14 years now. As a Sport Coordinator in Ioannina I am so excited to be part of the YSR team and especially to the sport project in Ioannina, because I have the chance to be a member of this beautiful community, while enjoying the sport activities with people from the Katsika camp.

After working in the field of communications, I started working for several NGO’s around Greece. Happy to be part of this project which empowers people over and over again! What I like the most about sports is that it’s a way to communicate and connect with each other without the need for words. I am not a very skilled sporter and always did (and do) a little bit of everything, which I enjoy a lot: boxing, dancing, swimming, figure skating.


Yadullah is our talented coordinator and teacher in Paris, France. Yadullah was initially the first YSR yoga teacher in Lesbos, where he was trained by Teacher Trainer, Claire (our operations director). Since then, he taught classes in wrestling, fitness, yoga and acroyoga. He now lives in France, teaching classes there and and working hard to set up the French YSR community.

Eisa is our talented running teacher, who came from the YSR community in Greece, and has stayed close in his new home of France! Eisa knows all the nice areas of Paris to run through and supports students continually improve their stamina.

Rahmat is an impressive boxer and kickboxer who can teach anyone the ropes. He recently became the YSR Paris’ boxing teacher and brings many new faces to classes in the park. There he will turn heads with some powerful kicks. With lots of experience, he is great at bringing new students of all ages into boxing, explaining the basics so that everyone can be involved!


Nina has admired the work of YSR from a distance for over a year during her ethnographic Masters research study with its inspiring current/past yoga and acroyoga teachers. Nina is trained in anthropology and has a particular interest in exploring meaning-making, identity and regenerative practices amongst marginalised communities. As of recently, Nina became a Communication Coordinator for YSR, and works remotely from her home in Sydney, Australia. There she loves her evening runs and gym sessions. She hopes to continue spotlighting the resiliency of refugee communities, and the importance of creative movement for self-expression.

As well as Coordinating the Athens project, Claude also works in the Communications Coordination team. She first was a volunteer on Lesbos and has a background in Hotel- and Project-Management.

Since she was a little girl she has been practicing many different sports from 7 years of figure skating to 13 years of rugby to cross country skiing, yoga and dance. She loves to move and try out new sports and is also involved in the project as a women’s fitness teacher. Thanks to the challenging K1 classes she joined on Lesbos she is now focusing on martial arts.

Upon completing her LLM in International Human Rights Law and Practice Emily worked in various NGOs before joining Habibi and Sport with Refugees as a coordinator in August 2022. Both her academic and professional work has always aimed to support, and promote the rights of people on the move. Beyond this she is a keen bodybuilder, hiker and loves nothing more than exploring the outdoors. She now works to support YSR through Finances, Fundraising, and Monitoring & Evaluation.


Estelle Jean, Founder, ED

Estelle Jean, founder and executive director is based on Lesvos, Greece. Estelle is a humanitarian worker and a passionate athlete. She holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science and Management from the ISMaPP-Paris. She was an accomplished equestrian for 18 years and a competitive swimmer for 8 years. She now runs marathons and competes in amateur Muay Thai fights.

Estelle founded YSR to raise awareness of the positive impact of sport for all people, especially displaced populations. Her passion spreads virally among her peers and creates a community. Besides managing the day to day operations of YSR, she also teaches women sports and swimming, supports the coordination team and tries to always be there for the refugee teachers and the community.

Claire Lalande, Director Operations, Greece

Claire joined the Yoga and Sport team in 2022 as Director of the Operations in Greece.

She has been involved in YSR since 2018 where she came as volunteer yoga teacher and has stayed involved in different ways. She has been responsible for our communication, and for the yoga teacher training in 2020.

Since she first volunteered, Claire has trained in Designing strategies and project for humanitarian action, and worked in several NGOs in greece. Being part of YSR is an absolute dream come true.

Claire is now based in Athens, and is responsible for the operations in Athens, Ioannina and Lesvos.


In 2019, YSR created an advisory board of five members—a lawyer and volunteer running coach, a former marketing executive and now advocate for corporations to “give back,” a retired Episcopal priest and fund raiser and a world class photographer are the current members. Our Board is chaired by the talented Nina de Winter, who was previously our director and worked on the ground in Ioannina, Lesbos and Athens.

Nina de Winter, YSR Board Chair

Nina joined YSR in the summer of 2019. She first came as a running coach, but quickly became more involved. She has a background in International Relations and Higher Education policy.

She has been a runner since she was a little girl and has never stopped. She coached our running team on Lesvos for over 2 years, until she moved to Athens to support the project there. Previouslly she was responsible for the day to day finances, fundraising, human resources, and the teams in Athens and Ioannina.

In Yoga and Sport, Nina has found her second family; she became part of the community and she strives to create more of this everyday.

She now contributes to the organisation remotely from the Netherlands as the Board’s Chair.

Puck Purnell is a retired Episcopal priest who lives in the U.S. state of Connecticut. He served as a Naval Aviator, worked draft horses in the Maine woods, was an educator and an entrepreneur. As a parish priest, he had a long-time relationship with a school in Carrefour, Haiti and, when the 2010 earthquake struck, he lead a medical mission to the area, caring for over 12,000 women, children and men. He has been on numerous non-profit boards and now is the Chair of the Seabury Charitable Foundation at Seabury Retirement Community in Bloomfield, Conneticut.

Hilde Honerud, artist and photographer, she has produced a large number of exhibitions, seminars and publications in recent years. She is an associate professor at University of South-Eastern Norway.

Burr Purnell is an award-winning Executive Creative Director and serves as the Director of Social Good at VidMob Gives, VidMob’s 501(c)3. In this role, he helps supply the tools to make it easy, fast, and affordable for nonprofits to amplify their message to the world through video. VidMob Gives has supported numerous nonprofit organizations including YSR, UN Foundation, CDC Foundation, Movember and Equality Now. Prior to joining VidMob, Purnell worked as Executive Creative Director at the performance marketing agency, ROI·DNA in San Francisco, where he led the creative team in shaping brands throughout the full spectrum of media. Before that, he held the position of Vice President & Group Creative Director for MRM Worldgroup overseeing direct marketing and online campaigns for a variety of clients including Microsoft, AMD, MasterCard, and Charles Schwab.

Andrew lives in Montpelier, Vermont with his excellent wife Rebecca and two superb kids Zoe and Nico. All four of them spent much of 2019 in Lesvos working with the refugee community. He coached the runners at YSR while in Mitilini and then remotely in the months leading to the 2019 Athens Marathon. According to Andrew, his time at YSR was among the most meaningful of his life: “the community of solidarity, love, laughter and respect that Estelle and the team have built is remarkable.  A real beacon of light in a world with too much darkness”.

His professional life has been as a Union, Community, and Civil Rights Organizer in the US and abroad.  For 25 years he has organized unions, negotiated contracts, built and run organizations and campaigns, and passed legislation.

In addition, for the last nine years he has coached at U-32 High School (Cross Country, Nordic Skiing, and Track) where his teams have won 19 State Championships.

Emmanuel Milet joined YSR first as a volunteer in Winter 2020. He then joined Claire Lalande to assist her in the Yoga Teacher Training organized in Lesvos a few month later. Since then, Emmanuel has been involved remotely with YSR activities, and joined the board in early 2023. He provides support to the fundraising team. In his other lives, he teaches economics at various universities in Switzerland, gives yoga classes in Geneva, and organizes a Jazz music festival by the Lake Geneva in August.

Nil is a civil society professional and an expert in sports for development programming. She is the co-founder of BoMoVu, a sports activism NGO based in Istanbul. Nil is currently the Safeguarding Lead of Common Goal in Berlin. Her areas of work are safeguarding, anti-racism and peacebuilding.

Supporting People

In 2018, YSFR created an advisory board of five members—a lawyer and volunteer running coach, a former marketing executive and now advocate for corporations to “give back,” a retired Episcopal priest and fund raiser and a (need something for Helga) world class photographer are the current members.






Fundraising, Partnerships, Data Maagement









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