RUN (Rebuild, Unite and Nurture)


Running to rehabilitation for refugees and asylum seekers

Co-founded by lawyer and sports enthusiast Virginie Goethals, alongside Brenda Sawyer, RUN's mission is to rehabilitate refugees and asylum seekers, particularly women who are survivors of sexual violence, through sport and education. As refugees and asylum seekers tend to live below the poverty line and do not possess the right to work in Hong Kong, RUN works to provide rehabilitation by assisting participants in rebuilding their mental and physical strength, providing a safe environment in which to recover from past traumas, build a community, and improve their skills for a more hopeful future. In addition to the sports program, RUN coordinates medical intervention and provides psychological support to participants.

As a member of the Kering Foundation’s community of social entrepreneurs, RUN was selected by a jury of professionals and experts to receive support from the Kering Foundation, including a 6-month incubation program, professional mentoring, and access to the Kering Foundation’s network. It contributed to the reconfiguration of their economic model and the strengthening of their race event organization, through which they generate income, raise awareness on refugees status, all the while empowering the survivors within the organization.

RUN supported 151 refugees from 19 countries in 2020, including 44 women.

100% of RUN participants report feeling physically and mentally stronger.

89% report higher self-esteem.

72% say that they are much better able to socialize and make friends

“The impact you [at RUN] are having is immeasurable. You have given my mum confidence and the awareness of her own strength. From the time she started running, I have seen her grow into the woman she was before, even better.”

Refugee from East Africa on her mother, a survivor and RUN participant