RUN’s refugee programme currently serves 96 vulnerable refugees: 37 women, 18 men and 41 young people (including 13 teenagers) from 17 different countries, such as Rwanda, Yemen, Eritrea, Somalia and Burundi.

Beneficiaries are referred to us by other local NGOs working with refugees, including Christian Action, Justice Centre Hong Kong, as well as International Social Service (ISS).

Read our policy regarding Safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk

Over 70%

of the participants have suffered from horrendous human rights abuses, including torture, rape, physical and mental abuse or a combination of these. Many are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, hyper vigilance or similar conditions.

65% ARE female

We have a special focus on women as female refugees often find it harder to access sports than males due to barriers such as religion, cultural values, past experience of sexual violence, cost of transportation and duties associated with childcare.

30% ARE ALONE

30% of the women participants are alone without family or alone with their children.

6% ARE MINORS

6% of the participants are/were unaccompanied minors.

Case studies

Sarah arrived in Hong Kong as a minor, (now over 18), from East Africa

Sarah was still a minor when a militia group raided her house in a war zone in East Africa. She witnessed when members of her family were brutally killed. She survived, but at the price of being raped several times. When there was a chance, she escaped and with some help got on a plane and left her country. She did not really know where she was going as it was her first time on a plane. She arrived in Hong Kong and applied for refugee protection. She has been waiting more than 6 years for her interview and still has no status. When she joined RUN, she barely spoke English and seldom left her house as she was too scared. Now she is a proud hiker and runner, studies English and has made friends across the Hong Kong community. Sarah says that RUN has given her her life back.

Sophia from East-Central Africa

Sophia lived in a war zone when she was sexually abused at a young age, and was then put in prison as she was considered responsible for what had happened to her. She was tortured in prison, but later released after her baby passed away. She could not stay in her own country as her personal safety was at risk and fled to Hong Kong. She spent several months in detention when she arrived here while her claim was being assessed. She was even handcuffed to her hospital bed when she was sick due to the consequences of her wounds. Today she has refugee protection, and is slowly recovering. She can only relax when she is out hiking, and loves every step in nature.

Oscar from East Africa

Oscar was being pressured by his home country's government to take on some political opinions that he disagreed with, and to which, even under heavy torture, he did not agree. A short respite from the torture gave him the chance to flee to safety with his wife and children. They left with only the clothes on their backs, before the worst could happen to them. Today he runs and swims with RUN, and will start studying soon. He is grateful to be safe in Hong Kong, and with RUN's support, is working on getting started on a new life.

* the names have been changed to protect people’s identities.