The Judo Association of Zimbabwe hosted a two day competition in Harare on 23rd and 24th September 2022. More than 200 judoka took part in the event including the local Judo for Peace Team from the Tongogara Refugee Camp, who brought children and seniors to participate.

"On 23rd September we had the children’s competition, under the auspices of our Judo in Schools programme. The youngest participants were 6 years old and the older ones 11. We were really pleased with some of our refugee children from Congo who won one gold, one silver and one bronze medal. We were so excited to see those performances from the Tongogara Judo for peace team," said the president of the judo federation, Smart Deke.

The Judo for Peace programme in Zimbabwe was launched last year and this was the first time that children from the camp could take part in a competition organised by the federation. "We are looking forward in having more competitions from now on with the team," added Smart Deke.

Following the examples and experiences of Zambia and Malawi, as well as the values displayed by the IJF Judo for Peace South Africa programme, Zimbabwe joined initiatives to support refugees, back in September 2021 ( The targeted refugee camp, Tongogara, is located in Chimanimani near the Mozambique border. More than 15,000 people live in the camp, a number that includes refugees and asylum seekers. 52% of the refugee population is under 18 years old and 32% are aged from 18 to 35, coming from several African countries, including Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan and many others.

Judo is more than a sport, it's a tool to build peace. This first event organised in Zimbabwe is a good sign for the refugee community that everything is possible. We wish to see more and more of those events in the future. 

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