Several children have said that the THF Taekwondo Academy has drastically improved their lives ©THF

Several children at the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan have become the latest to claim that their lives have been transformed by taekwondo thanks to the work of the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation's (THF) Academy.

The Academy was set up to give refugee children the chance to learn the key values of sport such as teamwork, fair play, respect, cooperation, integrity and tolerance.

It is also hoped that the physical and mental wellbeing of the children will be improved by participation in the taekwondo coaching sessions.

Along with the coaching sessions, the children perform taekwondo demonstrations and take part in competitions.

Asma Abdulrahman Sleiman, 16, says that, being an avid sports fan from a young age, she leaped at the chance to join the Academy.

"It didn't take me long to find great pleasure in practicing taekwondo and actually see its great influence on my personality and behaviour - starting from time management all the way to building my self-confidence," she said.

Sleiman is currently a brown belt and is hoping to one day reach black belt standard and become a coach.

Suleiman Al Ahmad, a 16-year-old with a red belt, also says that the sport has had a positive impact on his life.

"Taekwondo has introduced me to so many good people," he said.

The THF Taekwondo Academy was built to help improve the lives of children in the Azraq Refugee Camp ©THF
The THF Taekwondo Academy was built to help improve the lives of children in the Azraq Refugee Camp ©THF

"I now have many friends who practice the sport too."

Al Ahmad, who hopes to have a black belt by the end of 2018, says he dreams of representing the Refugee Team at the Olympics and becoming an Olympic champion.

Syrian refugee Rayan Abdulrahman Sleiman, who is just 13-years old, says that taekwondo has made her feel safer at the camp.

"When I first arrived here, I didn't like it at all, but ever since I began taking part in taekwondo sessions, I have started to feel like I actually belong here," she said.

The Azraq Refugee Camp was set up in April 2014 and has a population of approximately 33,000 people.

Most of its residents have fled the conflict in Syria.

World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue officially announced his plan to establish the THF in his speech at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, on the 2015 International Day of Peace. 

Its mission is to teach taekwondo and stage educational programmes with refugees and displaced people around the world.

As well as Jordan, projects are underway in countries such as Rwanda, Turkey, Djibouti and Nepal.