Peace through sports
"Humans will always find ways to disagree. We can only work to help disagreement find pathways to resolution without violence." (Tegla Loroupe)
The very first and also one of the most important projects of the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation in Kenya is the organization of peace races. The objective of the peace race is to use sports as a peace-building tool for promoting peaceful resolution to conflicts as well as enhancing socio-economic development in the region. Thousands of warriors come together from an area of over two hundred thousand square kilometers, from dozens of tribes who find themselves in conflict, to a center of peace. The annual peace race is located in the small town of Kepenguria, high in the Kenyan Rift Valley hills, where Tegla herself lives. All warriors, men and women, must leave their weapons behind. No one is armed. All tribes, the Pokot, the Turkana, the Nandi, the Maraquet, the Karamajong and elders from all tribes meet together, eat together and compete together. They spend three days in those unusual surroundings. They experience a total different way of competing with each other. The peace races are organized primarily to bring together warring communities to participate in sports as a way of promoting peace as well as an avenue to advocate education, girl child rights, HIV AIDS awareness, security, development, human rights and especially the rights of children and Female Genital Mutilation. The races serve as a forum for leaders to talk to their people and are one way of supporting peaceful coexistence and voluntary surrender of illicit weapons and firearms. Asking Tegla Loroupe about the best argument to change the warriors’ opinions, she answers: "There is a different way to see the purpose of your life. You live and are part of a wider community,and as you change many people’s lives for the better, your life will change for the better too." More than fifty warriors have already passed the Tegla Loroupe Warriors Training School, preparing themselves for running businesses in farming, bee keeping and in sports. Tegla's personal biggest success though was when the most feared warrior in north west Kenya agreed to surrender his weapon to the Kenyan National Police and renounce any further violence. He symbolically exchanged his rifle for some Tegla Loroupe Peace Through Sports athletic clothing and began a life of training, of outreach to other warriors, and of business formation. We hope, the future will convince even more Kenyan warriors to lay down their weapons and focus on an alternative and peaceful way of living. Be a part of the support for the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation and get your new On shoe. With every bought shoe, between the 4th-18th of December, On sends another pair to Kenya.