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Multi Ethnic Sports and Culture Northern Ireland

2194. Jahswill Emmanuel BEM

Jahswill Emmanuel BEM, from Belfast, founded ‘Multi Ethnic Sports and Culture Northern Ireland’ initiative in 2016 after suffering from a racially-motivated attack and wanting to promote positive intercommunity relations.

Jahswill uses sports and cultural activities to unite communities, reduce social isolation and support community members from ethnic minority backgrounds  integrate into their community. As a qualified football coach with a passion for sport, Jahswill has been responsible for a number of sporting events across Northern Ireland. His Refugee Cup, in partnership with the Irish Football Association, saw eight teams of mixed nationalities compete for a trophy awarded by footballer Ashley Hutton. Jahswill is responsible for the runnings of the largest ethnic minority league in Northern Ireland, The Super League, which provides a safe haven for youths within the community.  The initiative, which is entirely volunteer-led, has seen Jahswill work with over 18,000 children and adults through coaching and hosting sporting events to instil a sense of sportsmanship, encourage cross community participation and cultivate a sense of equality and diversity in sports.

Away from sports, Jahswill’s efforts to create a cohesive community have included cultural picnics and residential programmes that aim to reduce loneliness and promote cultural awareness and he has recently partnered with Vodafone UK to implement the ‘Everyone Connected’ project.

Congratulating Jahswill on his award, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP, said:

“Jahswill’s courage in turning his traumatic experience into a positive initiative to support integration and cross-community participation is truly inspirational.

“His charity work through sport and cultural initiatives has benefited people across Northern Ireland, and it was my pleasure to present him with this well-deserved award.”

Claire Hanna, Jahswill’s local MP for South Belfast, said: 

“Warmest Congratulations to Jahswill. This award from the PM is the cherry on the cake on top of many deserving accolades received by Jahswill to recognise his unwavering commitment to the South Belfast community he calls home and his great work to support and empower asylum seekers and refugees to integrate into society through the medium of sport.”

Jahswill said:

“In a divided society like Northern Ireland, volunteering enables me to help bridge gaps between communities, foster understanding, and effect positive change. I’m hopeful that my efforts can contribute to the development of togetherness, trust, and a more welcoming atmosphere. Additionally, it offers a chance to positively influence social concerns in a concrete way, encourage empathy, and show how teamwork may bridge divides.  In the end, by offering necessary services and support, my involvement can improve the community’s general well-being and contribute to the development of a more resilient and cohesive society.

“I am incredibly grateful to the Prime Minister for acknowledging my work as a volunteer. I find that validation like this keeps me continuing in spite of the difficulties I’ve faced in my role as a volunteer. Much appreciated.

“The award is dedicated to God Almighty, my family, friends, organisations, B.A.M.E (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities in the United Kingdom), my beloved community of Northern Ireland, and all volunteers across the globe.”

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The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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