Wednesday, December 6, 2023

UN refugee agency helps provide sports facilities for locals and migrants

Migrants in southern Mexico will be able to get their exercise thanks to new and renovated sports facilities.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) inaugurated several facilities for local residents, migrants and refugees in Tabasco and Chiapas to promote “peaceful coexistence and inclusion.”

According to the United Nations news agency, the project was a collaboration between the refugee agency and the Olympic Refuge Foundation, a social initiative of the International Olympic Committee, and local authorities.

The partnership put some of its greater efforts into the Pakal-Na community gymnasium in Palenque, Chiapas. UNHCR representative Mark Manly said the new facility served the double purpose of not only providing a space that contributes to the users’ physical health, but one that also builds community.

“The Pakal-Na community gymnasium allows people to recover public space and use it to strengthen local social bonds through sports. It is an example of how these types of spaces equally benefit refugees, migrants and the local community.”

UNHCR workers hope that the facility will serve as a feasible, safe alternative for recreation for migrants, asylum seekers and residents, in an area with insecurity problems and limited access to such services.

The refugee agency had previously installed a playground and solar-powered street lighting next to the area’s train tracks, which are routes frequently used by migrants on their journey north.

In Tenosique, Tabasco, the UNHCR renovated soccer pitches and a basketball court, adding artificial grass, fencing, new paint, bleachers, lights and water dispensers.

In all, the UNHCR and its collaborators inaugurated or renovated sports facilities in Palenque and Tapachula, Chiapas; Tenosique, Tabasco; Oluta, Veracruz; and Mexico City.

Mexico News Daily

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