Free to Run is a nonprofit organization that uses running, physical fitness and outdoor adventure as a means of empowering and educating females from conflict-affected communities to overcome the harmful effects of gender, religious and ethnic discrimination. By creating and supporting an environment for women and girls to participate in sport and physical education, Free to Run aims to use the power of sport to change lives and communities in areas of greatest need.
Sport and physical education is not just a recreational activity. Increasingly, it is recognized as a fundamental right and related to other important human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to health and freedom of movement. Unfortunately, girls and women are often unable to participate in sport or engage in many other aspects of public life due to widespread discrimination, traditional cultural beliefs, and restrictive gender norms. Particularly in post-conflict countries, sport activities are extremely limited or even nonexistent due to a lack of resources and lack of security.
Free to Run was created in direct response to the overwhelming need in conflict-affected communities. Free to Run’s core activities include creating safe spaces for females to engage in sport, including organizing outdoor sports camps and running events, assisting with the formation of sustainable running and sports clubs (and mixed gender clubs where appropriate), providing life skills training in conjunction with sports activities, and providing material support to girls and women participating in physical fitness. Engaging boys and men on the subject of gender equality in sports will be important in challenging gender stereotypes and changing attitudes on the roles of females in public life.