Exclusive video project by Peoplegrapher


Sohaila, Zahra and Zeinab train every day.
Their dream is to become professional fighters and to show the world that all people are equal.
We spent a week in and around the Malakasa refugee camp outside Athens getting to know these inspirational young Afghan women, documenting their gruelling commitment to fitness and their raging passion for equality.
starring: @sohailashojayie , @miss_ghazal242 @zeinab_a_s_ and @shojayie_bahar
production: @peoplegrapher
director: Lukas Tielke
dop: Lukas Tielke
additional camera: @nnloenn
photographer: @stevemarais
analog photographer: @drphilrom
editor: @marvin.kuehner
colorist: @kingofcurtis / @glassworksvfx
music, sound design & mix: @staubaudio @moritz.staub & @karinpallier
graphic design: @george_popovv
NGO: @yogasportwithrefugees



Trifugee (English) – “Building bridges with Sports” – Interview mit Nina von YSR (Interview with Nina from YSR)

FC St. Pauli (English) – Boxen auf Lesbos mit Refugees

France Info:Sport (Français) – Paris 2024: Depuis le camp de Lesbos, Mahmood Alizada, réfugié afghan, court après son rêve olympique.
(Paris 2024: From the camp on Lesvos, Mahmood Alizada, Afghan refugee, runs after his Olympic dream)

Info:Sport (Français) – Paris 2024: “En France, tout ce que je veux c’est continuer de courir”, rêve Mahmood Alizada, réfugié afghan (Paris 2024: “In France, all I want it’s to continue running”, dreams Mahmood Alizada, Afghan refugee)

The New Humanitarian (English) – How sports help refugees survive harsh conditions in Greece

Barriers to Bridges Magazine (English) – Removing barriers of marginalisation, building bridges to empower communities (Part 1)

Barriers to Bridges Magazine (English) – Borders and Bodybuilding: Insights into life as a refugee in Europe (Part 2)


Berlin Braves (English) – Introducing Suss and Estelle

InfoMigrants (English) – The NGO Yoga and Sport with Refugees helps migrants in Lesbos and Athens cope with their harsh living conditions

El Pais (Français) – Entrenar cuerpo y mente para sobrevivir a Lesbos

El Pais (Français) – El poder liberador del deporte y el yoga para los refugiados en Grecia

La Veu (Français) – L’Ajuntament aprova una subvenció extraordinària per a dos projectes humanitaris a Lesbos

Sud Ouest (Français) – Sur l’île de Lesbos, une Girondine fait bouger les migrants

De Volkskrant (Nederlands) – In de Vluchtelingensportschool op Lesbos geeft niemand op

Nederlands Dagblad (Nederlands) – Rennen, boksen, kungfu: sporten om te overleven buiten Moria 2.0

Sontag (Deutsche) – Yoga und Sport mit Fluchtlingen

Spiegel (Deutsche) – Sport machen, um nicht verrückt zu werden


SportandDev (English) – Europe: Sport and exercise for refugees in Greece

Slate (English) – The looming refugee Coronavirus disaster


Vice (English) – Helping refugees battle boredom with yoga, circus tricks, and storytelling


Kimberly Ann Gerken

2021 – Master of Arts thesis, University of Oregon

Breaking Down the Walls: Fostering Opportunity and Dignity Amongst Refugee Women and Girls Through Sport

Nina Nymeyer

2020-21 – Master of Research thesis, Macquarie University

Wild Yoga: Refugee Communities Transforming Self and Surroundings Through Movement

Priya Nair

2021/22 – Master of International Development thesis, Paris School of International Affairs

Life in a Hotspot: Examining Refugees’ Resilience and Coping Processes amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic


YSR Youtube Channel


The war in Ukraine is a travesty. The forceful displacement of people from their homes and lives through violent attacks is abhorrent and is rightly taking centre stage in the media.

Europe has responded to this war by opening borders, providing visas and creating safe passage for Ukrainian refugees. This commendable reaction has been tinged with skepticism for the refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Congo, Cameroon and other non-European, non-white countries, who are also fleeing war, persecution and fear. Instead of the welcome signs that are appearing in airports across Europe for Ukrainian refugees, these people are met with violent and often fatal push backs, increased border security from FRONTEX, walls and security cameras around the camp where they live, indefinite waiting times for interviews, fingerprints, passports, and negative imagery in the media.

Even at the borders of Ukraine, there are reports of white people getting priority to cross to safety over black and brown citizens. This war demonstrates that when people feel conflict close to their own borders, they are more open to help and support the people affected by it. The differentiation of refugees based on proximity to the crisis and resemblance to themselves, exposes that many Europeans still have an image of ‘a European’, which is vastly at odds with the multiculturality and ethnic diversity we see across European nation states today.

Everybody has the right to seek asylum. All refugees should be given a warm welcome, support and access to a fair, efficient and human rights-based asylum process.

As Ukrainian refugees arrive in Greece, YSR will welcome them in the same way we do all of our members: with respect, community, and a place to belong. Right now, we are analysing how we can best reach out and provide support to this vulnerable population, and how we can bring people together and foster a sense of positivity in such a difficult time. Throughout this, one thing is very clear. We must not support the view that there are some refugees who are more deserving than others, due to the colour of their skin or their home country. We do not support the EU as they hold out the hand of friendship to one group of people while systematically funding the death, mistreatment and criminalisation of another group with the other hand.

We stand with the refugees from Ukraine,

and with all the other refugees.

In our community, everyone is welcome.

Because we are truly #STRONGERTOGETHER

Will you change a life today?

As long as poverty, injustice and inequality exist, we can not rest. It isn’t difficult to make a change. Take action and make the difference today.