Joan Laporta: 'Big football clubs can be a voice for the plight of refugees and displaced persons'


Joan Laporta visited the refugee and displaced persons camps in Arauca (Colombia) Photo / Germán Parga

FC Barcelona president gives press conference in Bogotá, together with director general of the Foundation, after visiting a settlement of refugees and displaced persons

The president of FC Barcelona and the Foundation, Joan Laporta, accompanied by Dr Marta Segú, general director of the FC Barcelona Foundation, gave a press conference to the Colombian media on Tuesday in which they spoke about their visit to the projects being run by the Foundation in association with UNHCR and Save the Children in the Colombian 'department' of Arauca.

"We have given hope, we have brought joy" said Laporta. "And we have generated expectations of new chances in life for these children, which are already realities because of the work being done on on the ground, with the help of both UNHCR and Save the Children, with whom we we feel very well accompanied."

"I want to thank the organisations we are working with for making us feel useful, part of these projects. Big clubs have the ability to be voices for such important, transformative and inspiring projects as these, to help displaced people, refugees, and in this case we have focused our efforts on the Colombian-Venezuelan border."

"I have been hugely struck by the mothers. To see these mothers who have fought, who have suffered. They are so brave, and have moved with their sons and daughters looking for new chances in life."

For her part, Segú said, "from FC Barcelona and from the Foundation, we want to raise awareness among the world's population about the serious and precarious situation that children and young refugees are experiencing all over the world, we want to be their voice. And we know that FC Barcelona has an immense capacity to do so, so we are using it for something good, which is to give a voice to these refugee and displaced children."

Joint programmes with UNHCR and Save the Children

The day before, Laporta and Dr Segú visited the town of Arauca on the border with Venezuela. The institution has projects under way involving over 500 children and adolescents from Venezuelan refugees and displaced Colombians. These projects aim to use sport to create safe environments to aid the development and social integration process for these communities.

These projects managed by UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, a priority partner of the FC Barcelona Foundation, support refugee and migrant families and other families of internally displaced persons in Colombia. These projects will also use the SportNet methodology designed by the FC Barcelona Foundation, with Save the Children and with the support of Scotiabank, and will allow participating children to improve their emotional and physical well-being through sport.