Skiing for Hope: Jakob Fuglsang's Mission in Iraq

Skiing for Hope: Jakob Fuglsang's Mission in Iraq

Jakob Fuglsang has worked with disadvantaged refugees since his time at university. Today, he runs a large training company for asylum seekers and provides consultancy to NGOs. In addition, he founded Sport X, a training community in Denmark, which he uses to support vulnerable people around the world. This includes taking volunteers on projects in countries such as Syria, Ukraine, Lebanon, Iraq and more.

I would like to share a story with you, a story about an adventure in Iraq that has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. As some of you may know, my name is Jakob Fuglsang and I am the owner of Sport X. For me, it's not just about training; it's also about creating change, giving back to society and inspiring others to reach their full potential.

A while ago, I decided to take Sport X to a whole new level, a level where we could really make a difference in the world. This decision led me to northern Iraq, to a refugee camp in the middle of the desert, where I came across a group of incredibly brave young Syrian refugee girls. These girls were struggling to find their way in life in the midst of uncertainty and challenges.

Together with my amazing volunteers from Sport X in Denmark, we set out to create something truly unique. We established a sister sports club to Sport X, located directly in the refugee camp in northern Iraq. Our goal was clear: we wanted to give these girls a community, confidence and the tools to create a brighter future for themselves.

In the fall of 2023, we started with a pop-up crossfit bootcamp outside the refugee camp where the girls were introduced to the concepts of strength, community and empowerment through training. I can't express the pride I felt when I saw them embrace the challenge with open arms and smiles on their faces. Here we also trained two local volunteers to continue the project and the contact with the girls after we left.

But we didn't stop there. In the winter of 2024, I returned to Iraq with an even more ambitious plan. This time the bootcamp would take place in the mountains, on skis. We rented a mountain cabin and together we spent the days teaching the girls how to ski. The evenings were spent with music and dancing, sharing stories, laughing and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Before departure, we were faced with a challenge. Skiing is a brand new sport in Iraq, so we decided to gather skis and ski clothes from Denmark and send them to Iraq to ensure we could complete the project in the best possible way. This was a challenge in itself, but it was also a necessity to give the girls the experience they deserved.

And finally, the day of departure had arrived. Despite the previous events and the excitement that filled the air, our courage and determination were stronger than ever. We knew we were faced with a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these young people, and almost nothing could stop us from going.

As we headed to Iraq, our hearts were filled with both excitement and nervousness. But we knew we had each other and we knew we were headed for something big, something significant.

It wasn't just a training camp, it was an adventure. The highlight was without a doubt the last day's ski competition in the mountains. I will never forget the sight of these girls, who just a short time ago had never skied, competing with such dedication and determination.

When the girls took all three podiums in their beginner categories, I was filled with pride and humility. It was a moment that reaffirmed the importance of believing in yourself and supporting each other, no matter what challenges there may be. It was a moment that reaffirmed the importance of believing in yourself and supporting each other no matter the challenges.

And that's how our adventure in Iraq began. Through community, dedication and unity, we created something beautiful and meaningful. And although the road to success was filled with challenges, it was worth every effort when we saw the smiling faces and the pride that lit up the eyes of the girls when they skied for the first time.

Thank you for reading my story. Let's continue to inspire each other and create positive change in the world, one step at a time.