Yoga and Sport with Refugees (YSR) provides a safe and welcoming environment for refugees, especially women, to engage in sports and build community amidst the challenging conditions on Lesbos.

The infamous Moria camp, notorious for its deplorable conditions and rampant insecurity, symbolized the dire situation faced by refugees. Although efforts have been made to improve conditions, the new temporary facility in Mavrovouni, Lesbos, still faces significant challenges. Access to essential resources remains limited, exacerbating mental health issues among residents.

YSR aims to foster a sense of community, resilience, and integration through sports activities in refugee camps on Lesbos. Offering a variety of activities, from cardio and bodybuilding to parkour and acro yoga, YSR provides a safe space for refugees. In 2022 alone, YSR’s gyms saw over 40,000 visits, highlighting the positive impact of these initiatives.

Central to YSR’s success is its diverse team of coaches, many of whom are refugees themselves. Research underscores the importance of coaches sharing similar life experiences with participants, as this connection not only facilitates physical engagement but also provides mentorship and understanding of the refugees’ journeys and struggles.

Through its comprehensive approach, YSR continues to empower refugees, offering not just physical activity, but also a sense of belonging and hope in a challenging environment.

Source: Yoga and Sport with Refugees in Lesvos – BORGEN (