In the now well-established Covid climate, charity work all over the world has suffered, with resources, time and focus being eaten up by urgent responses to the pandemic. Many charities have reported that their incomes have been slashed and without the possibility for their usual marketing and crowd-based fundraising events, their work has been compromised. Raising funds to continue helping refugee communities, within the context of a contact sport, is tough, now more than ever, but the Judo for Peace programme continues to dig in, always problem-solving and meeting challenges head-on.
Mr Daxbacher in Germany, with the donations for Judo for peace South Africa

Judo for Peace South Africa is a fairly young programme, having taken its first steps in mid 2017. If it is true that a long journey starts with a small step, we have now walked a long way, met a lot of people and fulfilled a lot of dreams. In South Africa, Judo for Peace witnesses the collaboration of the IJF with UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, along with many more partners,  such as Nike, Dlala Nje and many local dojos.

To make a judoka you don’t need a coach, nor a sparring partner, but the entire world. Judo is an experience that transcends the practice on the mat and flies over borders.

Coach Johannes Daxbacher is the patron of many initiatives in Africa, being founder of Judo in Ethiopia, commissioner of the Military and Police IJF commission, supporter of judo in Sudan and many more.

DRC refugee judoka Enock and Moise and coach Dirk Crafford, greeted the donations with enthusiasm in Johannesburg, South Africa
Roberto Orlando, Judo for Peace South Africa Coordinator with Enock and Moise, collating donations – Johannesburg, South Africa

The union with the Judo for Peace programme in South Africa dates back to an old friendship with the local programme coordinator, Mr Roberto Orlando, an alumni of the IJF Academy, on the dusty mats in Addis Ababa.

Mr Daxbacher is a true believer of the educational value of our sport and with a contagious enthusiasm offered his help to promote the Judo for Peace Programme in South Africa.

On this campaign Johannes Daxbacher collected tatami and judogi from German judo, to be offered for the establishing of new dojos in refugee areas in South Africa. It is thanks to the relentless partnership with UNHCR that the 5 pallets of donations were transported to Johannesburg. With such a practical and direct use for the fundraising, delivering all this is needed to be able to practise judo, it is now up to the Judo for Peace judoka to step on the mat and make Kano’s dream come true.

Although the situation in South Africa is still affected by Covid and judo practice is limited, Judo for Peace is never at rest and we plan to open new dojos that will serve underprivileged communities in South Africa.

See also