Mahdi has been training in Muay Thai and Kickboxing for several years in Iran. He began sharing his passion with the Team Energy and more athletes who wanted to join in Lesvos. Mahdi was always positive, laughing and bringing happiness to all the guys around him. He has the power to motivate others and keep dreaming high! He aspires to become a great Muay Thai champion one day!
Mona was a very passionate yoga teacher who started practising and teaching yoga in Lesvos and Athens with the Yoga and Sport team. She became a certified yoga teacher in 2020 through yoga teacher training and has since been practicing and providing classes both in Greece and in Germany.
Jawad is our football coach in Lesvos. He is coaching together with Aman and they are able to train the guys in different groups. Jawad is very passionate about football and he takes the training very seriously. For him, every player has to give his best on the field.
Ahmad is our breakdance teacher in Lesvos. He started doing breakdance and parkour in 2018and participated in different shows. He was previoulsy a parkour and gymnastics teacher in Iran. Here in Lesvos, he started to teach and motivate students to join this sport in order for them to enjoy and forget about the difficult conditions in the camp. He produced a serie of different choreographies which allowed us to put together a very good breakdance show in One Happy Family community Center as well as in Mytilini.
Vahid has been wrestling since he is a kid and he has developed his skills in Iran. He has been participating in many competitions and wishes to pursue his dream of becoming a wrestling champion one day.
Ehsan is our Kung-Fu teacher. He has been practicing for 10 years and participated in many competitions. He has pedagogy and he masters the art of teaching since 5 years. Ehsan loves kung-fu and wants to become a better figher and teacher, sharing his discipline with kids as well as with adults.
Rakhan is our breakdance teacher. He has been practicing for 2 years. He is now teaching since August 2020 with a great interest to develop this discipline more in the heart of Project Hiwa and to give the students more confidence in their movements and figures. He is very skilled and passionnate about breakdance and loves to teach as many people as possible.
Mohadese is our yoga teacher. She is doing yoga since 2019 with Yoga and Sport and she is now a teacher in Athens. She is a certified yoga teacher since September 2020 as she followed the training offered by Yoga and sport in Lesvos. Her soft energy and focus make her a very good yoga teacher. She is also a very strong athlete as she practises kickboxing, self-defense and running.
Dana is our very first teacher on Lesvos and he helped creating the organisation in 2017. He teaches taekwondo, leads some running sessions, give self defense classes. He has exceptionnal pedagogical skills and he knows how to teach kids. He is the founder of the sport part of Project Hiwa in Athens which became the new YSR location in Athens since September 2020.
Aref was also our program coordinator in Athens for several years, and very recently left in July 2022. He was constantly learning and developing his leadership skills everyday. He also taught our taekwondo, fitness, acrobatics and bodybuilding classes in Athens. To this day, he is an athlete, who has amazing pedagogical skills to teach every level and ages. We will miss him dearly!
Sultan was our Acroyoga teacher in Lesvos. He has a warm, calm and welcoming attitude. He knows how to give his students new daily challenges that grow their spirit of achievement. He creates new challenges and prepares all his lessons, which are adapted to the level of the students to keep the group motivated. His professional skills as a teacher are exemplary.
Mahdi is our dancing teacher. He started to teach with Yoga and Sport since almost a year as he has been very inspired by Edu, one of our former coordinators, who is a very talented dancer. Mehdi followed Edu’s steps and he is now very serious in teaching different dances and choreograhies. He is also a certified 200 hours Yoga teacher. Last but not least, since 8 months he is studying performance theater and now he can say he is also an actor.
Aman is our football coach. He has been coaching football with the Yoga and Sport team since beginning of 2020. He loves football and in Afghanistan he played in the Premier League in Herat city. Unfortunately, two years ago in Afghanistan, he injured his knee in a match and he could not continue playing football. When he came to Greece, he started training again. His knee is not completely healed yet, but he feels good that he cans play football again. He will never give up!
Iqbal is our boxing teacher. He has been practicing for 2 years in Afghanistan and already won several competitions. He is teaching boxing since 8 months with Project Hiwa. He is a very passionate boxer and trains to improve his technique and speed every single day. He knows how to adapt his training for different levels of students and knows how to control his training.
Nasim was our karate teacher, he has been practising kyokushin karate for 4 years. He has entered and won several competitions. He was great at teaching kids, women and men since he has very good communication and pedagogical skills.
Hamid was our K1/Kickboxing trainer in Athens and Lesvos for many years. Of course, that makes him a great fighter! He was been teaching with Yoga and Sport for 3 years now and has developed training sessions that are intense and full of energy! He was also one of the founders of the Team Energy, a team of talented and motivated kickboxing athletes who passed through Lesvos refugee camp and are now living in various EU countries. Hamid participated in several international fights in his carreer and wants to reach the best rings of the World! He always finished his trainings with an extensive speech where he explains that all humans are equal and that we should always work hard to reach our goals.
Zaki is a great athlete and kind person. He was a certified yoga teacher after he completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training in 2020 in Lesvos. Before he was mainly practicing parkour and theater with one of the other yoga teacher, Yadullah. He has since left and we wish him all the best!
Ali is from Afghanistan and lived in Lesvos for almost three years. During this time, he became a football coach for YSR. He encouraged anyone to join the sport, believing it teaches people loyalty, respect, that age is just a number and that height doesn’t matter. Football reminds everyone to say no to racism, and that teamwork is the most important quality of all. Ali Morteza was committed to passing on this knowledge to everyone that attended in a positive way and to provide everyone the opportunity to improve.
Sara was our amazing women’s bodybuilding coach in Athens until recently in July 2022. She is passionate about training, strengthening and empowering her community of women. Her classes are tough and make sure women leave feeling more powerful that before! She will go on to do great things and we wish her all the best!
Amir was an extremely talented boxer and fighter for YSR. He became our youngest boxing teacher after several years of challenging training in Lesvos and Athens. He has inspired so many students to keep going and we are so proud of his and him sisters, Mohadese and Mobina, for their passion, will and determination to unite the community through movement.
Meet Sohaila, a Muay Thai and yoga teacher for YSR, who recently also won the 2021 Courageous Use of Sport Award presented by the WWE. Sohaila has made leaps and bounds to fit for women’s empowerment in sport, and she is only in her late teens! We were thrilled to have Sohaila be a teacher for us and are stoked to see her making moves elsewhere in the EU.
Marta was a coordinator at Habibi and Sport with Refugees since January 2022. She started working with Yoga and Sport with Refugees in September 2021 as a volunteer in the Athens gym, in the evenings after her work. She bacame so passionate about the community and the connection within the team that she decided to apply for a position in Habibi and Sport with Refugees. Marta is originally from Italy and recently graduated from a Masters degree in project management for the humanitarian sector. She was determined to apply all her newly obtained knowledge in the project in Ioannina. She has since embraced a new challenge working in Sierra Leone.
Miren started as acroyoga, yoga and women’s sports teacher at YSR in 2019. She went on to formally train as a yoga teacher and eventually jumped into the role of Project Coordinator with both feet. She has been with the community for a long time and has brought so many people into the organisation. Her joyful attitude welcomed anyone and many have felt her warmth during classes. She will be missed!
Mobina was an amazing kickboxer, fighter and boxer with YSR, eventually becoming a talented yoga teacher for the community, alongside her sister Mohadese. We are so happy to see the whole family has moved on to settling elsewhere all together.
Najib is an experienced and competitive kickboxing and muay thai fighter. He started kickboxing in 2012 and Muay thai in 2017, before he became ‘pro’. He has won Afghan and Swedish companionships, including one at the Fighter Centre in Sweden, and is eager to step into a leadership role for YSR to bring new and familiar faces together. He continued to teach his kickboxing and muay thai classes outside his role. He was a coordination during 2022 for YSR.
Mohammad is the bodybuilding teacher in Lesvos. He enjoyed working at the gym and helping anyone that works through the door. For Mohammad, going to the gym help to keep his mind busy and body active – “it’s so important for both psychological and physical health that I want everyone to take benefit out of it”.
Based in New York City, Haley coordinated monitoring & evaluation activities through close collaboration with those on the ground. Haley has a Master of Public Health from New York University where she specialized in health & human rights. Her research focuses on improving policy and program implementation so that the mental health of all forced migrants can be better supported at the local, national, and international level. Haley has been running competitively since she was 8 years old and believes in the power of sport to build community, break down barriers, and improve physical and mental health. She was a running coach for YSR briefly in 2019, and then became more involved in YSR when she returned to Lesvos in 2021.
Nasrin is our zumba teacher in Athens. She is an inspiration for all the women around her. She started the Zumba class since almost 3 years and also took over the Hip hop lessons. Her energy and her motivation are endless. She always wants to help others and to encourage women to start physical activities, because she is really conscious of how positive it can be.
Sports have always been a big part of Rozalia’s life. After experimenting with movement a lot, she fell in love with dancing and yoga. At the start of 2022, she completed a 500h yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, India, and since then has taught and participated in seminars in Athens. She is thrilled to be teaching classes at YSR Athens gym as well!
Originally from the Netherlands, Arjan supported YSR initially as a volunteer before coming back to Lesvos to work as an on-the-ground volunteer coordinator. Arjan is passionate about the organisation and what it stands for, and is the first to put his hand up for organising activities with the volunteers and community teachers, especially if it involves travelling or hiking around the island.
My name is Mohammad Reza. I am originally from Afghanistan, but I was born in Iran. I came to Lesbos in July 2019 as a refugee. After a while I started volunteering with different organizations and NGOs. I learned how to speak English with these volunteer jobs. Currently I am volunteering as a medical interpreter in the camp.
In the past, I was interested in wrestling, but unfortunately the conditions were not good for me to do exercise. My interest in sports made me to search for a place to do exercise. When I got to know Yoga and Sport I started to go to gym for boxing class, which I found a safe and friendly environment with different nationalities. That made me feel good from the first day. Now, I am very happy to be a member of this Yoga and Sport team.
Lena supported the volleyball teacher upskilling and training at Habibi and Sport with Refugees while also volunteering with our partner, Habibi.Works. She took over as Project Coordinator of HSR in December 2022. Being together and building community is what she likes most about sports. She studied graphic design but is more passionate about the work she does now.
Our interns are also only temporarily with us. We like to keep in touch with all the interns who have helped Yoga and Sport grow and thank them again.
Shane was the Development Coordinator and Support Team Administrator at YSR.
From County Cork, Ireland, he studied International Development and Food Policy at University College Cork.
In his work life, he has had the privilege of teaching sport to many different groups both inside and outside of Ireland, experiencing first hand the transformative and healing effect it can have. It was this that first drew him to YSR for his university internship, and, along with the community and solidarity created, that has continued to motivate him in his work in Athens.
I’m Noémie, I’m 24 and I just graduated my Masters degree in Humanitarian Action in France (Rennes). I’m an intern at Yoga and sport for 5 months and I’m working on the community building: I have to organise Events so every member of the community can meet each other and create links, I have to work on extending the community beyond the borders so people can still stay in touch even when the leave Greece. Why YSR ? Because I really believe (no, I’m convinced) in social inclusion by sport and YSR is doing a greeeeat job : everybody is welcomed, everybody can say his/her opinion, everybody is on an equal footing. Long live sport!
Hello, I am Valentine, I am 24 and I am from France. I recently graduated from a master’s degree on International Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs. As I was looking to have more experiences in the International Humanitarian field, I found Yoga and Sport with Refugees, became fond of their purposes and join the team as the new Integration intern. I will be working to develop the Integration process of the NGO and help it become even more open and inclusive to all. I choose YSR because I share their values and I like the idea of improving well-being through sport. Using sport as a tool to integrate, create link and build yourself is something I believe in. I used to play basketball and tennis and today I am lucky to have the opportunity to try a bunch of new sports!
My name is Périne, I am a French student finishing studies in management. However I always knew I wanted to work in social and humanitarian fields. I am more than thrilled to work with Yoga and Sport with Refugees for the next six months in Athens, joining Fundraising and Communication teams. Developing the Corporate Social Responsibility levers to diversify our sources of revenue to the private sector, which will be my main task here, is a very exciting challenge for me. I love having the chance to also participate in content creation and social media management as communication and advocacy have always been very important matters to me. I was immediately seduced by Yoga and Sport with Refugees sense of community and commitment towards the cause it defends. Trying new sports working there such as bodybuilding and yoga has already helped me to believe more in myself. It has achieved to convince me of the power of sport and its ability to empower, bring people together and be stronger together.
My name is Maurine, I am a 22 years old French student. I was studying Populations and Development in a Social Sciences master’s degree in Paris. I will work with Yoga and Sport with Refugees for the next three months as an intern in Communication and Advocacy based in Athens. I will mostly be working on developing some campaigns as the Global Field Sport and swimming one! I will also work on research about the link between sport and mental health. I chose to work with Yoga and Sport with Refugees because I already knew the work they were doing in Paris with the minors living in a camp. They are really involved in the refugee’s cause and aim to build integration and well-being through sports practice. I was usually running a bit in my free time but now that I’m working here I could try and discover many sports that I didn’t even know!
I am Raphaël, a 26-year-old French professional with a background in sustainable finance and banking. I recently took on an internship with Yoga and Sport with Refugees, where I will be working on finance, fundraising, and accounting over the next six months. I was drawn to this organization due to their commitment to supporting refugees and promoting integration and well-being through sports. Personally, I have a passion for sports and am an avid practitioner of activities such as swimming, yoga, and cycling. Since starting my internship, I have taken up kickboxing and am thoroughly enjoying it!
My name is Tom, I’m 24 and I’m a Sport addict! It’s not just about the physical stress and wellbeing you go through on a daily basis, it’s about the trip you undertake and the connection you build with yourself and others. I do believe sport has an immense power, and it must be grasped gracefully. At Yoga and Sport, training the group of minors from the shelters, who have little to no access to sport, feels like giving a big glass of fresh water to dehydrated adventurers. I’m mainly working with Davide in the Monitoring and Evaluation Team. Our aim is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our programs in the 4 different locations; ultimately hoping to enrich our projects and enhance students’ prospects.
My name is Anna. I am a 20-year-old anthropology student from the UK; living and studying in Amsterdam, Holland. I will be doing an internship with Yoga and Sports with Refugees for the next three months within the communication and advocacy team, in Lesvos. One of my projects will be filming content for various campaigns such as Sister Month. I have chosen to work with Yoga and Sports because of their approach to the refugee ‘crisis’, which aims to challenge negative media-driven stereotypes of refugees through their advocacy work, and day-to-day running of the gyms. I love that their work is centred around co-creating a sense of well-being, and community, alongside the refugee community, through a unanimous passion for sport. As for myself, in the UK, I played a lot of hockey and tennis, but since moving to Amsterdam I have been going to the gym, and have recently taken up pole dancing. I look forward to starting boxing and climbing, during my time in Lesvos.
Sanjideh is our volleyball and boxing teacher for women. She teaches boxing once a week and gives volleyball class twice a week, which is what she likes the most. She’s also been a volunteer at Habibi and Sports with Refugees since May 2022.
Parinaz has been our yoga and dance teacher for women at Habibi since 2022. She also participates very actively in the volleyball training every week and in many other sports events that happen in Habibi.