- 18 Jun 20
The 'Sanctuary Strength' class with rower Claire Lambe is taking place this Saturday, June 20.
Irish athletes from across the sporting world are standing with refugees and joining a 'social distancing' exercise class on Saturday, June 20 - World Refugee Day.
For the 10th socially-distanced Sanctuary Runners class organised during the pandemic, participants are called on to stretch, squat and plank with Olympic rower Claire Lambe.
Some of the sports stars involved including Tom Barr, Ciara McGeehan, Patience Jumbo Gula, Sonia O'Sullivan and Brian Fenton.
"We’re now asking people to join us on Saturday morning, June 20th for a half hour of online exercise."
"Amongst those taking part will be Sanctuary Runners currently living in Direct Provision centres in Ireland and other participants from across the world.”
We run as one-We celebrate each other-We run in #solidarity not #charity-We treat each other with #respect and #equality. Be the Change you want to see. Don't just call for it, RUN for it too! Join us today - email [email protected] #friendship @Refugees @IrishRefugeeCo pic.twitter.com/A71me27OpF
— The Sanctuary Runners (@SanctuaryRunner) June 7, 2020
Created in 2018, Sanctuary Runners organise meet-ups to enable Irish residents to run, jog or walk alongside refugees and asylum seekers in direct provision as a show of solidarity.
Garnering over 2,000 runners around Ireland over the last two years, the movement has fostered friendship and respect through exercise.
“For most asylum-seekers and refugees social distancing in centres is all but impossible," Graham Clifford said.
"People share dining areas, tight hallways, bathing and toileting facilities and bedrooms. It's stressful."
"But through the #SanctuaryStrength initiative we’ve been able to connect with refugees every week, we exercise together, chat online throughout and motivate each other to keep going. Our motto is ‘Lets Come Back Stronger’”.
There are now Sanctuary Runner groups across Ireland in Dublin, Wicklow, Meath, Longford, Westmeath, Monaghan, Waterford, Cork City, Mallow, Killarney, Tralee, Kenmare, Limerick, Clare, Mayo, Galway and Sligo.
World Refugee Day is held on June 20 each year, and honours the courage and determination of those who have been forced to flee their homes as a result of war, conflict, sexual violence and persecution.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us that everyone, including refugees and asylum-seekers, are vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus," says Eoin O'Neill, UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency).
"However, it has also shown us that our strength as a community lies in our solidarity. No one is safe until everyone is safe. The crisis has shown us that we each have a role to play. Everyone can make a difference, Every Action Counts.”
Countries are now beginning to emerge from lockdowns imposed by COVID-19, during a time when there is a global effort to rally against racism and xenophobia.
World Refugee Day is an opportunity to reassert the fundamental principles of equality and dignity for all.
“Our thoughts are with the more than 70 million forcibly displaced people worldwide and especially the many refugees and asylum-seekers in Ireland who are living in a state of flux," Perry Ogden, of Sport Against Racism Ireland, said.
"We are most disappointed not to be able to host our annual World Refugee Day Fair Play Cup with UNHCR Ireland this year due to Covid-19 but are very happy to support - in solidarity, friendship and respect - the wonderful work being done by Sanctuary Runners.”
You can join the class by clicking on this link from 11am on Saturday, 20 June.