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THSN Refugee Team: Integration through sport

Sport can change lives. Tadesse Abraham, Switzerland’s fastest marathon runner, is the best example of this. Together, we now want to help other runners with a refugee or migrant background to achieve their goals. That's why we're launching the THSN Refugee Team. Do you come from a refugee or migrant background and live in Switzerland? Would you like to join a running team? Then become part of the THSN Refugee Team!

The Human Safety Net Switzerland Foundation and Capacity have partnered together for the past two years to support people with a refugee or migrant background, helping them to unlock their potential and discover their entrepreneurial skills. We are now going one step further – with the THSN Refugee Team. Aspiring entrepreneurs and refugees who want to become professional runners have a lot in common: following their own career path, taking on risks and literally staying one step ahead of the competition.

Find out more about The Human Safety Net.



The project

Together with marathon runner Tadesse Abraham and Hospice général, the main public assistance (welfare) office in Geneva, The Human Safety Net Switzerland Foundation is launching its first ever running project in the French-speaking part of Switzerland: the THSN Refugee Team. Everyone with a refugee or migrant background who wants to take part is welcome. Our main aim in setting up this running team is to facilitate integration through sport for each and every individual. At the same time, we've planned a variety of activities to support all those hoping to build a professional running career.



Who is the THSN Refugee Team meant for?

The THSN Refugee Team is open to all refugees and migrants. Those who'd like to make a career out of running will gain access to experienced coaches and support at every level. In addition to training sessions and workshops, participants can take part in the Refugee Running Trophy, which will see the top three runners from the THSN Refugee Team attend a training camp in Graubünden.


The THSN Refugee Team is also open to refugees and migrants who are not looking to start a professional career. Together with Hospice général, we'd like to support exchange and integration through sport for all.


A pair of running shoes and some motivation – that's all you need to bring along.



Our training sessions

Training sessions will take place from 16 September 2020 in Geneva at the Bout-du-Monde sports centre (next to the stand), on Wednesdays at 5.30 pm and Fridays at 6.45 pm. They will last around one hour. Participants will be divided into two groups: pros and amateurs.


If you'd like to come along for a trial session, simply drop by or sign up here.



Our coaches

Tadesse Abraham holds the Swiss marathon record of 2:06:40, won gold in the men's half-marathon at the European Championships in Amsterdam and finished in 7th place at the Rio Olympics. He describes himself as the "big brother" of the THSN Refugee Team.


Born in rural Eritrea, he came to Switzerland as a refugee in 2004 and is now hailed as an exemplary success story. He knows first-hand how valuable sport can be as a means of integration. This makes it all the more important for him to give something back. That's why Tadesse is happy to be personally involved in this initiative as a coach. He'll be there, whenever possible, to pass on his tips as a professional.

Tadesse Abraham's official coach over 800 metres at the World Masters of 2015, Olivier Baldacchino, will lead all the Wednesday and Friday training sessions. Olivier Baldacchino has been a sports trainer for over 20 years. He’ll provide advice and tips designed to help the runners achieve their goals. In addition, he'll put together a customised running programme and monitor performance both during and outside of training.



The advantages


As a member of the THSN Refugee Team, you’ll not only benefit from free weekly training sessions. There are lots of other advantages:

  • Free registration for the fun runs in the Generali Running Tour
  • Refugee Running Trophy prize: training camp in St. Moritz
  • Events to help you network with other runners
  • For everyone hoping to start a pro career: participation at various workshops

Our partners


Alongside our main partner Hospice général, Flag 21Service Social International and Garmin are all contributing to the success of the initiative.


Would you too like to support the project? Then contact us.