Formerly part of Free to Run since 2015, RUN came to life as a sole entity in Hong Kong in 2018. Some people said we were mad to call an NGO that rehabilitates refugees RUN. It made them think negatively of ‘flight’ and ‘running away’, not of the positive empowerment our participants experience through our programmes. But we cannot dispute that reality of flight; unfortunately, that is an undeniable part of our participants’ and our story.
Members of the RUN community have fled from some of the world’s most serious human rights abuses in some of the hardest places to call home. They are running away from war, rape, violence and torture on a scale that neither you nor I could ever imagine.
They arrive in Hong Kong, alone and desolate, with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the few possessions they were able to bring with them. But the biggest load they carry is the trauma of what they experienced in their home country, compounded by their arduous and often exploitative journey to get here and the difficult existence of being a refugee in Hong Kong with little or no support.
Turning the negative into the positive – a journey of healing and recovery.
This is where RUN comes in. We are an NGO that focuses on the most vulnerable refugees, particularly women, offering them the opportunity to rehabilitate and recuperate through running and other sports. We strive to turn that negative experience of running into something positive. Our running is one, not of running away, but of running towards, of a positive journey of healing, freedom, achievement, advancement, improvement and peace of mind.
The power of sport to overcome trauma
The benefits of running and being outdoors in overcoming trauma and fighting depression have long been evidenced. Over 70% of our participants report improved personal health, increased self-esteem and being more calm, peaceful, happy and hopeful after participating in our running and other sports programmes, including hiking, swimming, yoga and fitness.
Running as the linchpin
But running is just the start of it. Once in a better state of mind, our refugee community moves forward though our programmes. As well as sports, we provide access to education, mentorship and leadership training for our participants to improve their skills towards a more hopeful future, whether in Hong Kong or in their resettlement countries. Wrapped around these programmes are our support services, including childcare, social, psychological and emergency assistance, all provided by our dedicated volunteers in the warm, friendly and safe RUN environment in Wong Chuk Hang.
RUN’s ambition is to create a resilient and empowered refugee community in Hong Kong through and beyond sport, one that connects with and is understood by the local Hong Kong community. There is a long way to go to get there. But with your help, we think we can make it to the finish line.
Support us and join the RUN community to make Hong Kong a better place for refugees.
RUN for your health. RUN for your future. RUN for your dreams.