Taekwondo-loving migrant helps to integrate Syrian refugees in Jordan

World Taekwondo (WT) council member Maher Magableh, left, talks to WT and Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation President Choue Chung-won during the  Hope and Dreams Sports Festival in Amman, Jordan, May 3. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk

World Taekwondo (WT) council member and former taekwondo referee Maher Magableh, 48, is a Jordanian migrant-turned-entrepreneur who has played a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the third edition of the Hope and Dreams Sports Festival.”We had more than 600 refugee children from Camp Azraq, Camp Za’atari … participating in four different sports. It was a much bigger festival than last year,” he said after the end of the three-day event in Amman, Jordan’s capital city, May 3. “For some children, it was the first time ever to leave the camp and see the world.”The Hope and Dreams Sports Festival, a joint humanitarian initiative by the WT and the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF), was inaugurated in 2022 as a single-sport event.This year, the festival expanded its scope to include baseball, badminton and basketball, signaling its growth and potential for further expansion in the future.

Deeply motivated by the refugee children, he led the THF project to settle taekwondo’s humanitarian initiatives there, where he discovered hidden talents.”Yahya Al Ghotany is a very talented athlete. He was the first refugee athlete to win a gold medal at the taekwondo championships in Jordan,” he said. Al Ghotany further excelled in subsequent championships and finally secured a nomination to the IOC Refugee Olympic Team with the help of the THF, he explained. “Everybody (at the camp) asks me to watch them as I discovered Yahya. Everybody tells me, ‘I want to become like Yahya’ … These kids possess immense talent. They just need support and nurturing, which the taekwondo training center provides through the fantastic work of coaches and staff,” he said.The former Olympic taekwondo referee is the founder and CEO of EzyMart, an Australian convenince store chain with some 450 stores.In 2018, Magableh founded his nonprofit organization, the Maher Foundation, which provides 슬롯게이밍 help and support to youth and less-advantaged communities.

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