Why football is more than just a game
Five years ago UEFA's Foundation for Children was founded with a simple but vital mission - to help European football defend the rights of children all over the world. Since then, the foundation has provided grants to 245 projects in 100 countries and it's distributed over 35,000 balls and football kits to schools, children's institutions and associations. Over a million children have benefitted. The numbers are quite staggering.
Despite lockdown in certain countries due to the coronavirus, the work goes on. This year the foundation has launched projects in Northern Greece and Vietnam to name just a few countries.
Now is not the time to celebrate an anniversary. Now is the time to keep offering support in the regions that need help and hope to the children that need it most.
A CHARITY MATCH ORGANISED JOINTLY BY UEFA AND THE UNITED NATIONS
HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN GREECE
In Greece, refugee and asylum-seeking children and their families remain in a situation of desperate need. Terre des Hommes runs a project aimed at ensuring their protection, integration and social inclusion. Sport can be an efficient tool to tackle exclusion. That is why Terre des Hommes, together with local and international partners, uses sport to provide psychological support and improve social integration and empowerment.
From 1 April to 31 August 2018, the Terre des Hommes accommodation and social services scheme in Thessaloníki and Ioannina helped 403 individuals to access safe and dignified accommodation, make connections with the local community and access critical integration services. Children and young people (0 to 18 years old) made up 45% of the beneficiaries.
In 2019 Terre des Hommes achieved the following:
- Sixty weekly football training sessions were held along with nine monthly Football for All events.
- Training was provided to 12 football coaches on how to use football as a tool for protection.
- Some 200 refugees from more than 20 different countries participated in Terre des Hommes events and activities.
- The overall social well-being of young refugees and asylum-seekers was improved, through better communication and collaboration, increased self-confidence, feeling understood and accepted, and a better sense of social connection.
- Safe and accessible football activities were provided for those most at risk of exclusion (girls and young women), and local child safeguarding and protection mechanisms were established.
- Participants gained skills such as conflict resolution, leadership and public speaking through group exercises, personal presentations and theory sessions.
- In terms of community management and networking, Terre des Hommes developed positive partnerships with local football clubs, extended activities to new locations in Greece and established effective collaboration with the Refugee Trauma Initiative to raise awareness of the Football for All methodology.
LA VIE EN BLEU
Autisme Genève has used the funds it received from the Match for Solidarity to make society more inclusive for people with autism. The association strives to help children and young people with autism develop the skills to understand the complex world around them. In addition, Autisme Genève has created campaigns to raise the awareness of the general public, with a view to improving understanding and acceptance of people with autism.
A total of 20 children, aged 4 to 18 years, have participated in inclusive dance, swimming, trampolining, table tennis, hiking, athletics, singing and karate activities.
On 30 November and 1 December 2019, Autisme Genève was guest of honour at the Escalade race, the most popular event in the Geneva calendar, which attracted no fewer than 46,000 runners last year. A unique opportunity to raise awareness of autism!
The Autisme Genève stand in the race village gave the organisation huge visibility among runners, their friends and families, and other supporters. Some 1,000 runners bought and raced in Autisme Genève T-shirts, thousands of brochures were handed out and hundreds of passionate exchanges with passers-by helped introduce a large audience to the realities and specificities of what is more formally known as autism spectrum disorder.
In addition, thanks to funding from the UEFA foundation, Autisme Genève was able to launch a pilot project to better understand the needs of people with autism, what activities are open to them in terms of inclusive leisure pursuits and the support services they need, with a view to developing programmes that will benefit people with autism in Geneva and serve as models for others to replicate.
INCLUSIVE SPORT FOR DEVELOPMENT IN BANGLADESH
This project aims to improve the educational and social inclusion of children with and without disabilities in Bangladesh. Thanks to proceeds from the Match for Solidarity, school-based and child-led inclusive sports and leisure activities have been used to foster child development, promote awareness of protection issues and break down social barriers.
- Two disabled people’s organisations received training on promoting inclusion though inclusive sports.
- A total of 854 children participated in inclusive sports and leisure activities, as well as educational activities.
- A total of 434 caregivers received training on appropriate care for their children with disabilities.
- Training was provided to 29 teachers in mainstream schools on how to support students with disabilities.
- Training was also provided to 20 sports coaches on how to adapt and facilitate inclusive sports.
Major achievements as of February 2020:
- Ten primary and secondary schools took part in the project.
- Some 5,337 follow-up sessions were held for caregivers on appropriate care for children with disabilities.
- Forty-five follow-up sessions for trained teachers on classroom management were held in schools.
- Kits including sports and learning materials were provided to ten children’s clubs and schools.
- Some 603 sports sessions were organised with sports clubs.
- A total of 105 assistive devices were provided to children with disabilities.
- Some 232 children with disabilities were referred to health and rehabilitation care services.
- Awareness sessions were organised for 42,501 children, with/without disabilities, on different child-related development issues.
- Thirty coordination meetings were held with the school management committee.
FOOTBALL FOR INCLUSION UEFA FIELDS
With the support of the UEFA Foundation, Civil Andar was able to develop a comprehensive football for development programme. This allowed the association to improve its projects and outcomes and to begin to establish a safe place to play football.
During 2019, there were 341 participants.
Considerable progress was made towards the objectives identified during the initial planning of this project, and changes were made that led to the expected results being exceeded.
Three clear objectives were established:
- Develop a football academy to promote life skills and sports training for children and young people with disabilities.
- Promote values through football.
- Raise awareness about full inclusion.
The following activities were carried out:
- Classes with the Gol Inclusivo Football Academy
- An Inclusive Football League tournament
- Participation in Festival 19 organised by streetfootballworld and Sports dans la Ville in Lyon, France
- Local football3 festivals
- Partnership with the Argentine Football Association to promote inclusive football and female empowerment
- Partnerships with clubs, including River Plate, Boca Juniors and Racing Club
INTRODUCING SPORTS FOR PEACE INCLUSION AND RECONCILIATION (INSPIRE)
This project was established in September 2018, with the objective of using sports to contribute to social cohesion, reconciliation and the development of an inclusive Sri Lankan society.
In total, 6,105 persons from different ethnic and religious groups, with and without disabilities, participated in the project activities. Of the beneficiaries, 3,196 were children or young people, 945 of whom had disabilities (30%).
- Thirteen mainstream and nine special education schools were selected to be part of the project.
- A total of 8,282 children and young people (56% boys, 44% girls), including 700 persons with disabilities, were enrolled in the participating schools.
- A capacity-building programme was developed and implemented for physical education teachers and special education teachers, including the printing of a manual on inclusive sports and social cohesion to equip the teachers with knowledge and practical guidance.
- Following level 1 training for 81 teachers, 66 inclusive sports activities were organised by the newly trained teachers in the 22 schools involved in the project for 3,526 participants (including 700 children with disabilities) and five inter-school events were organised for 871 children (including 239 children with disabilities).
- Level 2 training was held for 105 participants in July 2019.
- Sport and health awareness sessions were organised for 264 parents of children who attended the sessions.
- Disability and inclusion awareness sessions were conducted by members of disabled people’s organisations.
- Eight street performances on inclusive sports and social cohesion were organised in the community, involving 3,557 people.
- Inclusive sports activities were led by the teachers who had received training.
- Inter-cultural events and inter-faith dialogues were organised to bring people together.
Since the last newsletter, a new blind football season has started, as it does every year, involving 120 visually impaired children (20% of whom are girls), amounting to around half of the pupils at the School for Young Blind People. The young beneficiaries of Libre Vue had the opportunity to represent Mali at the 2019 IBSA Blind Football African Championships in Nigeria. Libre Vue has recently completed the construction of offices, equipment storage, changing rooms and showers. Solar panels were installed on the roof to make the building energy independent.
A total of 300 children have benefited from the cécifoot programme since the Match for Solidarity.
- More professional management has led to better results for the national team and thus to the media taking an interest in blind football.
- Mali ranked 9th at the IBSA Blind Football World Championships and won a silver medal at the 2019 IBSA Blind Football African Championships.
- Libre Vue’s new building provides a more comfortable environment for players, encourages more children to participate and strengthens the credibility of the association with the authorities.
- A total of 20 computers and 80 canes were distributed to children to facilitate their inclusion.
- Nine awareness-raising sessions were held in primary schools as well as four demonstration matches in different districts of Bamako.