Barça Foundation resumes its programs online in Catalonia
Foundation team has been working in recent weeks to maintain connected with children both in Catalonia and internationally
After FutbolNet activities throughout Catalonia were affected by the shutdown due to Covid-19, the program team began developing methods to teach virtually. After an initial study of the technological gap in the different centres and regions of Catalonia, the program participants were contacted for online sessions, and that has been very well received.
In addition to keeping the bond alive with children in vulnerable environments, these online sessions are providing a platform for socio-emotional support through play and reinforcement of the importance of sticking to routines. The children have also had the chance to keep in touch with their peers. We continue to focus on improving the way the digital sessions work, and reaching participants who are harder to contact due to technological or contextual barriers.
These digital sessions are shorter, with more structured discussions, and with special attention paid to the challenges of engaging in group physical activities during social distancing. The methodology still focuses on values as the core thesis around which all reflections, activities and ideas revolve.
After these first sessions, the response from different organisations, local councils, teachers, children and families has been very positive. Although not all participants are reachable, there is a high percentage of active involvement, with some families participating, too. The Foundation is actively working with local councils to help cross the digital divide and reach as many children as possible.
Activities are also being sent to the centres that were involved in the program before social distancing, and where virtual contact is not permitted by regulations or the context makes such connections impossible, as is the case for example, with Juvenile Justice Centres and the Acompanya’m Residential Centre at Hospital de Sant Joan de Déu.
Special thanks are due to the entities and administrations involved in financing our program: Fundació Bancària la Caixa, Nike, the Catalan provincial councils and various city councils, which has made it possible to keep the program going, albeit in a new online format.
International solutions have been sought in Colombia, El Salvador, Argentina, Brazil and Greece. Through the Foundation's regional coordinators, virtual actions to support the families of the beneficiaries have been launched in collaboration with local entities. Taking advantage of the Foundation’s network of teachers and projects, it has also been possible to send various basic aids.
The pediatric emotional well-being program, one of the Foundation’s best-known projects, has also been able to continue in the form of video calls between sick children and players from different teams at the club. The first ones happened a few days ago with children from Hospital de Sant Joan de Déu, who were able to talk to football players Ivan Rakitic and Riqui Puig, with Víctor Claver, from the basketball team, and with the roller hockey goalkeepers. Over the next few days, more visits will be held with children who are being supported by the Enriqueta Villavecchia Foundation.
These encounters have become "wonderful and unforgettable" gifts for those children who are dealing with very serious illnesses or who are in the process of recovery. It has also been a great experience for the players, who regularly participate in such actions in person throughout the year.