December 2022 Campaign

Give the Gift of Sport

For this Holiday season…


(To your loved one, who has it all)

During this holiday season, what is better than giving a gift to your friends, colleagues and loved ones that enable someone from our community to do sport and build community amongst others?!
This holiday season, in the lead up to celebrations such as Christmas and the New Year, YSR is collecting the much-needed everyday items that can allow community members to join classes, have fun, learn skills and foster a sense of community and connection amongst others. 

Do you have friends who you struggle to buy for? Are there family members who have nothing that they need? Parents or siblings who buy themselves everything? Are you worried about showing up to a dinner empty handed? Or perhaps you’d like to find a gift idea that doesn’t get added to the back of the cupboard, but can really impact those who receive it? Would you consider buying a gift for a friend or family member that can help our community, such as a basketball, t-shirt, boxing gloves, shoes or even a mattress, that will be used more than you can imagine in our busy gyms?

While it’s true that money doesn’t buy happiness, it can be transformed into a thoughtful way to bring others the opportunity to incorporate the joy of a sports community into the tediousness of camp life.

Our unique gifts mean you can be part of the reason classes continue to run, and participants are dressed to enjoy these moments to the fullest. You will also receive a beautiful e-card for your donation (preview below), which you can personalise, print and pass on with the all-important Holiday cards. 

How can you donate to the YSR Give the Gift of Sport Campaign?

  • Don’t have PayPal? No problem! You can transfer to the Yoga and Sport With Refugees bank account.
    Our IBAN is FR76 3000 3003 7700 0372 6332 035.

To receive your e-gift certificate, whichever payment option you select, please add in the description of your transfer:

GIFT OF SPORT +  your email address for the e-card

Imagine you need to flee your home because you are in danger: you are packing your bag to cross deserts and mountain trails by foot, then a boat that takes you across the Mediterranean. Will you have the luxury or space to bring your extra set of sport clothes? Would you prioritise the important family photos or your running shoes? What about the large padded boxing gloves? These are the dilemmas people on the move are faced with when leaving their homes. Many come to countries with minimal personal belongings, not with the necessary items to sport, but with only the things they need to survive and keep moving.

When people on the move finally arrive at their destination to claim asylum, it doesn’t get easier.

Many are put in crowded camps, with few spaces to socialise, exercise, or merely rest. To add to that, the political situation is still changing. Attention has shifted to the many people in need in Ukraine (something we completely support!). Further, camps on various Greek islands have become more prison-like, controlled and restrictive, with refugees continually being treated like criminals, detained for not having papers, or even pushed back into open sea with unsafe vessels. 

But why support Yoga and Sport with Refugees’ Give the Gift of Sport Campaign?

Yoga and Sport with Refugees was created five years ago in Lesvos, the home island of the infamous camp Moria, to provide a space where refugees could work on their physical and mental wellbeing, as well as build communities centred around sport. Our teachers directly support around 400 refugees per day, giving them the opportunity to work out, forget about their problems and share a good moment together. Our collaborative and bottom-up decision making structure, whereby teachers from refugee backgrounds themselves guide and direct YSR programs, attempts to ensure that YSR provides genuinely sustainable development for its community. This means that not only do we provide a space to feel included and away from a dehumanising camp environment, athletes and teachers are also able to grow, integrate, and build skills and networks to help them find their footing in a foreign society. We recently expanded from Lesvos to Athens, Ioannina and Paris and, as always, rely on private financial and material donations to keep projects running. 

Given this panorama, contributions from individual donors are increasingly important!

(Special thank you to photographers, Giulio Piscitelli and Jon Garage Ondarre, for these photographs).

Purchase an item from the list below:

At Yoga and Sport with Refugees, all clothing is provided to students and teachers attending the gym. Given that many are faced with travelling on small unsafe vessels across the water, they are unable to come with many personal possessions and often have jeans or other clothing which makes it hard to move. YSR provides anyone coming to the gym with suitable clothing to be able to train. These are returned after the class has finished. At the end of the day, YSR volunteers wash and dry the clothing ready for the next day’s classes.

One set of clothing is valued at 10 euros and gives another person arriving in Greece the necessary resources to give a new class a go.

At Yoga and Sport with Refugees, yoga mats are so important, both for yoga classes, as well as any other sport classes that require students to be on the ground (in our gym or outside). Mats are useful for wrestling, parkour, gymnastics, fitness classes, as well as stretching, skill-building workshops, team meetings.

The gym is a safe space for anyone, regardless of their racial, ethnic, social or political background. Yoga mats give us the ability to bring anyone and everyone together to practice and meet in community.

One yoga mat is worth 15 euros and goes towards providing a safe environment to facilite classes and minimise injuries.

At Yoga and Sport with Refugees, boxing gloves and wraps are a hot commodity. Boxing gloves are one of the quickest sport items that we go through; we have some strong men and women attending boxing, Muay Thai and kickboxing classes so within months, our gloves are falling apart. No amount of love, care or sanitising can spare them. Wraps are also washed after every use, making them fray quickly.

Given the amount of people that join classes that require gloves, we are in constant need. One pair of boxing gloves and wrap are worth 20 euros and will contribute to more enjoyable and empowering boxing classes, that leave the whole gym feeling sweaty and strong.

With many training sessions and regular competitions at nearby football fields, and basketball and volleyball courts, Yoga and Sport with Refugees team sports players can never have enough balls. These games bring the whole team together, with many friends and camp residents watching from the sidelines.

Unfortunately, these balls can be hard to keep well stocked, with many players interested in forming new teams or practicing their skills when they have time. One ball is worth 30 euros and help students continue practicing amongst their teams, and providing the thrilling matches many come to watch.

People on the move will usually have few shoes, and often not adequate shoes to use for sport. Nonetheless, many will still try to train. YSR maintains records and aims to provide shoes in various sizes for anyone interested in classes. Students will use these shoes in classes, as well as when they cycle/walk to nearby towns, and leave camps to resettle elsewhere in Europe.

One pair of sport shoes is valuable to many and is worth 50 euros. These will ensure that students and teachers can attend classes with the appropriate footwear to remove the risk of injury.

For people on the move living in parts of Greece such as Lesvos, bicycles are crucial. YSR aims to provide bicycles to all teachers to make it easier for them to reach the gym for their weekly classes. YSR also offers cycling classes around scenic parts of the island. These bicycles often eventually have problems: broken chains, brakes and gears.

Nonetheless, any way to move makes a big impact on how frequently people can attend classes, connect with others and travel to local towns for basic needs. Any form of sport build bridges and brings people together. One bicycle is worth 75 euros and makes the world of difference.

You may have seen the colourful climbing wall that we have in several of our gym locations. Despite what one may think, crash pad/mattresses are used for many sports at YSR gyms – we need mattresses to protect attendees of parkour, climbing , aerial yoga and judo classes.

These mattresses help to protect students and teachers from concrete floors when they practice new movements, poses or skills, sometimes several meters in the air. One crash pad/mattress is worth 100 euros and means we can offer the most challenging, enjoyable, yet safe, classes.

Quick recap on donation process – here is how to donate:

  • Don’t have PayPal? No problem! You can transfer to the Yoga and Sport With Refugees bank account.
    Our IBAN is FR76 3000 3003 7700 0372 6332 035.

To receive your e-gift certificate, whichever payment option you select, please add in the description of your transfer:

GIFT OF SPORT +  your email address for the e-card

Curious to see where your generous ‘past it along’ gift went?

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