The Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation has set up an Academy in Niger ©THF

The Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation (THF) have established an Academy in the Diffa region in Niger.

The project officially began operating this month, with the initiative coming as part of a collaboration between the THF and the Niger Olympic Committee.

Niger's Rio 2016 silver medallist and 2017 world champion Issoufou Alfaga, a UNICEF Ambassador for the African country, has also supported the project.

The Academy is aimed at helping refugees in the region by addressing issues caused by traumatic events they have been through.

It is claimed taekwondo training helps children and youth by fostering physical and mental wellbeing, while promoting social interaction and helping to install personal discipline and ethics.

By providing a safe environment for the refugees to participate in the sport, it is hoped young participants will be able to regain part of their childhood and find hope for a better future.

The region has been affected by conflict and terrorist attacks in the past years, leading to a high number of internally displaced persons and Nigerian refugees, who have fled their homes.

It is claimed 118,000 Nigerian refugees and 104,000 internally displaced persons are located in the Diffa region, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees figures.

The project will hope to encourage girls to participate in sporting activity ©THF
The project will hope to encourage girls to participate in sporting activity ©THF

Nearly 60 per cent are believed to be under the age of 17, while around 53 per cent of children are girls who are seen as having greater difficulties in participating in sport.

A series of demonstrations will be organised in various schools at the start of the academic year in October to encourage children and youth to participate in the programme while promoting taekwondo to girls.

The initiative is the third THF project in Africa, following Academies being established in Rwanda and Djibouti.

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.

It aims to teach the sport and stage educational programmes with refugees and displaced people around the world.