First ever refugee marathon set for Kenya's Nairobi

Posted by On 8:37 PM

First ever refugee marathon set for Kenya's Nairobi

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NAIROBI, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan athletics legends Rose Tata-Muya and peace ambassador Tegla Loroupe are among the high-profile personalities who will grace the inaugural Refugees Marathon to be held here on Saturday.

Event organizers Bahati Ghislain and Jean Pierre Ngirabahire confirmed on Tuesday that everything is set for the first ever event for refugees in Kenya, saying the aim of the event is to celebrate the Kenyan government and the people of Kenya for their hospitality.

"If not for the warmth and nature of Kenyans we would never have known peace," said Ghislain, 24, who moved to Kenya 10 years ago from Democratic Republic of Congo after losing all his family members.

"This country has made me everything I am because they allowed me to feel human again. When I came here I met people who took me as their own and I have every reason to say good things about Kenya," Ghislain said.

Ngirabahire said they would use the event to donate blood to the national blood bank, but are still working on the modalities of partnering with the national blood transfusion center.

"We have really thought about how or what we can do to show our gratitude to the people of Kenya and we thought this would be a good way of saying thank you," he explained.

"This is about celebrating Kenyans who have allowed us to live amongst them like brothers and sisters. We also want to raise awareness on the plight of refugees and what it means to be one because of what we went through but Kenya has made us feel human again," Ngirabahire said.

The event will bring together refugees from different nationalities who are currently residing in Kenya, mainly from DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, South Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Other than the 10 km run and the 4km fun run, the day's progr am will also feature entertainment by different choirs and artistes, blood donation as well as sensitization on different issues affecting refugees.

Loroupe, a UN peace ambassador, said the event is a major talent identification pool for her refugee athletes program, having advocated for stateless athletes to take part in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

"They go through a lot and it's very painful that talented youth can't exploit their gift because of problems they have no control of," she said.

"It is a good event and I always want to support such ideas because they are the ones that advance the cause I have always championed," she said.

Over 3,000 refugees will take part in the event out of the more than 70,000 refugees who live in Nairobi.

Source: Google News Kenya | Netizen 24 Kenya

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