Ethiopia: Sudanese girl second in Ethiopian children’s run
16 December 2010

Sports is an integral part of the activities offered at the JRS run refugee community centre in Addis Ababa. (Peter Balleis SJ/JRS)
It’s not just running that makes you successful. If you have confidence in yourself, you can do anything. Think big!
Addis Ababa, 16 December 2010 — An eight-year-old Sudanese girl almost won a charity children’s run, staged on occasion of the Great Ethiopian Run, carried out annually in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Chuder Biel finished second and can now consider herself contender for further training to untap her talent. She was one of fifty-five refugee children who participated in the children’s run. “Congratulations for what you have accomplished with energy and a passion to win,” JRS English Instructor, Bethelehem Asrat, told the refugee girl.

Like every year, a series of races for children were staged on the evening of the race day, on November 20. Under the slogan “running for a child” children aged eight to eleven ran to raise funds for orphans and vulnerable children.

The Great Ethiopian Run is considered Africa’s biggest road race. It covers 10km and accommodates more than 35,000 participants of various nationalities, among them elite athletes, children of ambassadors and high ranking government officials.

The event enables refugee children most of whom never have a chance to attend public festivals to meet other children from different parts of the world, have a good time and discover their running potential.

It also gave them an opportunity to meet famous Ethiopian athletes such as Haile Gebrselassie and Gebregziabher Gebremariam. “I was almost your age when I started running and I didn’t have running shoes or shorts,” Haile Gebrselassie told the children.

The race is supposed to create solidarity and promote a culture of physical exercise. It finds inspiration in the success of great Ethiopian athletes. Race participants receive a t-shirt at registration and a winning medal at the finishing spot.

“It’s not just running that makes you successful. If you have confidence in yourself, you can do anything. Think big!” said Gebregziabher Gebremariam while giving awards to the winners.

Since 2006, refugee children supported by the JRS Refugee Community Centre (RCC) in Addis Ababa have participated in this international race.

The RCC helps refugee children to grow up in dignity and to develop intact personalities. The project has been working towards this aim since its foundation in 1996.

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