Jan (33) sets up sports clubs in refugee camps

“Sport broadens and gives people self-esteem,” says Jan van Hövell (33), who set up a sports club in a Kenyan refugee camp based on that idea.

The club works as a library for sports equipment. Nets, balls and board games can be rented for a small amount, making the association largely self-sufficient.

In the video below Jan explains how he came up with the idea:

More than 400,000 refugees are living in Kenya, more than half of whom are still children. “They often arrive alone and are bored,” says Jan. According to him, sport is a solution: “It gives challenge and therefore meaning to life.”

Meanwhile, more than 8,000 people are registered at the club in Kalobeyei. Not only refugees, but also Kenyans. In this way Jan wants to improve the bond between the local population and the refugees, because he thinks that is sometimes forgotten.

The foundation obtains income from donations and from the sale of sportswear in the Netherlands. “Everything goes to charity,” says Jan. He himself comes around by playing as a DJ at parties.

Now that the sports club is running, the foundation hopes to expand quickly. Jan wants to set up a second club near the first location and then open club houses in Bangladesh and Rwanda.

The idea is that the concept goes wherever people need sports equipment. In favelas, slums, but also in the Netherlands. Jan: “This way we can make sport possible everywhere and for everyone.”

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