OUR TEAM

ATHENS

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.

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

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

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.

LESVOS

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.

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.

My name is Zerihun, I am from Ethiopia. The sport I coach is Bodybuilding, and I work with YSR because I believe in the efforts to protect the physical and mental health of refugees. For me, a motto I live by is: you should take advantage of any good luck in your life.

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.

Name: Dinaol Silassie
Country: Eritrea
Sport: Running
I joined YSR: to produce athletes free from addiction that have a strong body posture, and to produce a healthy generation that is free from depression
Value: One year of hunger is ten years of happiness

Hi! My name is Nesredin. I am from Eritrea and I like to do weightlifting and aerobics. I joined YSR because I love coaching: “Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It’s helping them to learn rather than teaching them”. Like in coaching, I believe: “if my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it”.

Name: Ali Aqa ashuri
Country: Afghanistan
Sport: Muay Thai and Boxing
Reason why i work with YSR: YSR is so kind and make me feel like I am in my own country and home, and I hope we can be future champions and grow together to make YSR family name bright all over the world.
My Value: Human beings are members of the whole 1 creation of one essence and soul, if one member is afflicted with pain, other members unease will remain – this sentence is the only thing I love.

Hi! My name is Yousef Allahham, I am from Palestine. I am really excited to join YSR. Here I coach climbing classes :)

IOANNINA

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.

Jamshid supports all the classes as a volunteer. He loves to do sports in general, but kickboxing and climbing are his favorite sports. He started climbing when he came for the first time to Habibi & Sports and now he will never skip an indoor class or outdoor climbing excursion. His answer to the question ‘What do you like about volunteering?’ was: ‘I am helping and I like this’.

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.

I am the bodybuilding coach at Habibi & Sports. I started bodybuilding training in the year 2000. I like to be a coach because I want to inspire young people. The bodybuilding exercises helps you to maintain your strength and always keep you fit.

I started kungfu when I was a child and continued for four years. Because I was the youngest child, my father would not allow me to participate in competitions to avoid getting hurt. After that, I started playing volleyball, and my interest and skills in volleyball increased day by day. In Afghanistan I was invited and played in very good teams in tournaments and I wanted to become a member of my country’s national team. The sports fields that I am considering in the future are volleyball and professional car racing. While I was living in Greece, I participated in a coaching course and received a volleyball coach certificate. I am very happy to become a volleyball coach in Habibi & Sports because here everything is regardless of race. The country and nationality are not relevant; we are all equal and the same.

I am the football coach. In my classes, I hope the people who participate feel like good players. It makes me happy to see people happy.

PARIS

My name is Amadou Diallo, and my favourite sport is football. I come from Senegal in West Africa. The reason why I am in the YSR is because personally I have always been a person who likes to help people with what I can bring for them, and that’s also why I’m in YSR.

Rahmat is an impressive boxer and kickboxer who can teach anyone the ropes. He 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!

My name is Mahoud Alizadeh, I came from Afghanistan and my favourite sport is running. Running is a beautiful reason to enjoy my time in life and I will be very excited and happy about the competitions that are created. My goal of working with YSR is to make me happy and to transfer positive energy to my team and myself!

ORGANISATIONAL TEAM

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hey, I’m Lola, i’m French and based in Paris. I am coordinator for YSR Paris almost since the beginning of the project in France in June 2022! I am fond of running; I run almost every morning but I hate competitions aha, I prefer to run alone or with the YSR running team! I also did a lot of modern-jazz dance and yoga. I am super glad to how the community grow in Paris : new students, amazing coaches, fun events and billions of possibilities to make the community grow! With Yadullah, we are an efficient and creative team of coordinators in Paris and always open for new ideas!

Malamati joined YSR in 2023 and she used to worked in several NGO’s in the field of child protection and team coordination. She studied Political Sciences, Philosophy and Gender Studies. She loves martial arts, yoga and pilates. She really enjoys trail running because it’s a magic combination of nature and sports. For Malamati, YSR is chance to work on sports with people all over the world.

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.

After teaching children and teenagers with special  needs in Germany, I cycled to Greece. There I joined the YSR community as a volunteer in  Athens and Lesvos. I liked it so much, I didn’t want to leave. So I’m thankful for the opportunity to stay in the organization and to share my passion for sport with the people in Ioannina. Since I’m a child I’ve been fascinated by the power of sport to unite people from different backgrounds. My favorite sport is Volleyball but through YSR I have the chance to try new sports like climbing or Zumba.

Hi, my name is James Thullah, I am the coach coordinator in Lesvos. Originally, I am from Sierra Leone and YSR is my first family in Europe. I started as a footballer in YSR, later I was chosen from the squad to be a coach. A few months later, I saw a post on YSR Instagram page that they are looking for a suitable candidate for the position of coach coordinator. I applied for it and I was shortlisted candidate for the interview. I went through the interview successfully and I was offered the role!

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!

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.

Hi, my name is Ruvarashe but everyone calls me Ruvi. I joined YSR in 2022 as a coach, ever since I have excelled in an internship in finance and currently as a junior coordinator working beside Emily Forbes. Besides my love for finance, I enjoy being outdoors, going on walks to playing tennis. I am very delighted and grateful to be in a place like YSR where I get to challenge myself in many ways as well as meet new people from around the globe from different cultures and backgrounds. I’m very excited to see this journey continue and see where it leads me.

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 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.

INTERNS

My name is Charlotte, I’m 23 and I’m an anthropology master’s student from France. At YSR, I’m the new intern in the integration team. I’m very happy to join the Yoga and Sport team! Looking forward to meeting you!

I’m Violaine, a 23 year old french, actually on a gap year before completing my studies in environmental sciences! I am currently an intern in the communication team and focusing on video editing among other things!

BOARD

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.

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.

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.

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.

VOLUNTEERS

In addition, YSR relies upon fantastic volunteers from all over the world. People have come from all around the world to work voluntarily and help build happier and healthier communities! THANK YOU – without you, we would not be here today!

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