The Hiatus Foundation was founded in 2018 by Chris Shirley (35) – a former officer in the Royal Marines – after becoming frustrated by the lack of support for athletes in Afghanistan.
Growing up in a single parent household on a social housing estate, Chris’ life changed direction when at the age of 15; a schoolteacher introduced him to mountain biking. The sport gave him purpose and much-needed confidence. It also helped lead him to other sports as well as a 12-year career with the British military.
In 2017, he travelled to Afghanistan to meet a new generation of athletes who were redefining the culture through sports.
From mountain bikers, skiers, parkour gymnasts through to rugby players and marathon runners. He was so inspired by their passion, resourcefulness and entrepreneurial spirit, that he knew he had to help them.
Understanding the unique role that sport plays in shaping young minds, he realised it should play a more central role in conflict prevention and peace building. Seeing a gap (aka ‘a hiatus’) in support for mountain bikers and other athletes in Afghanistan – he set up ‘The Hiatus Foundation’ to reduce the barriers to entry for young millenials in conflict zones to engage in sport.
Having good quality T-shirts and merchandise – that people want to wear – is crucial in spreading this important message; sports are thriving in places you wouldn’t expect!
He believes that as a global community of athletes, we have a moral responsibility to ensure our brothers and sisters can practice the activities that have made us the people we are today. It’s athlete activism in practice – ‘paying it forward’ to those where we can.’
Find out more about The Hiatus Foundation check out their website TheHiatusJournal.com