Sport Towards Employment Possibilities for youth migrants and refugees
Migrant and refugee youth are often vulnerable and experience social exclusion. Many have lived through traumatic situations, lost their family networks, or have had their education disrupted. Unemployment rates among migrant and refugee youth remain alarmingly high and there are significant barriers for them entering the labor market.
It is vital that migrant and refugee youth access the knowledge, skills and opportunities that enable them to become part of their new society. Employment is an important part of the integration process: it helps people become self-reliant, utilize their abilities, and build up social contacts. Additionally, global citizenship training is increasingly recognized as essential for success in today's world which often goes hand-in-hand with employability for young people.
To address the challenges facing migrant and refugee youth in Europe, Barça Foundation teamed up with four other organizations: Danish Refugee Council, Organization Earth, European Football for Development Network, and Cooperativa Prospettiva. Together, we are delivering a pan-European project supported by ERASMUS+ Collaborative Partnerships entitled “Sport Towards Employment Possibilities for youth migrants and refugees'' (STEP4Youth).
The key actions of the STEP4Youth project are:
- Mapping of good practices on using sport to promote social inclusion of refugees and migrants in Europe.
- Development of a new sports-based employability methodology designed for refugee and migrant youth at risk of social exclusion.
- Training of educators / coaches across Europe in the new methodology.
- Delivery of the new methodology with groups of refugee and migrant youth, including unaccompanied minors, in Catalonia, Greece and Italy, with the aim to improve their employability knowledge, skills and networks.
Organization Earth. Greece
Organization Earth, is a Greek Non-profit Civil Society organization founded in 2010 that strives to serve all 17 Goals of Sustainable Development. Organization Earth operates three major umbrella-initiatives each of which includes its own projects and dedicated staff (Environmental Learning Initiative, Responsible Business Initiative, Social Inclusion Initiative). Within the framework of social inclusion activities, Organization Earth has launched the “Hope Sports” initiative, as an umbrella programming of Sport for Development activities. “Hope Sports” began in 2016, as a response to the refugee crisis, with Organization Earth expanding its activities aiming to combat discrimination and tackle inequalities.
The inaugural project under the new mandate was Hope Refugee FC, the first football team in Greece consisting solely of migrants & refugees that sparked further initiatives and projects using the power of sports as a tool for change. Today, Organization Earth’s social inclusion initiative “Hope Sports” is implementing numerous programmes besides the football team, and includes children, women and men. Programs and activities are implemented in a number of different settings such as refugee camps and municipal sports fields focusing on social empowerment of refugees and people with intellectual disabilities as well as on community engagement.
Danish Refugee Council. Denmark
Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is a leading, international humanitarian displacement organisation, supporting refugees and internally displaced persons in 40 countries. DRC was founded in Denmark in 1956 and has since grown to employ 9,000 staff internationally and is supported by 7,500 volunteers in Denmark. DRC works with humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding activities to ensure a dignified life for refugees, the displaced, and displacement-affected people. DRC works in conflict-affected areas, along the displacement routes, and in the countries where refugees settle. In Denmark, DRC supports the integration of refugees and migrants in the Danish society, and offers integration services, counselling, analyses, conferences etc. for professionals and volunteers working with refugees and migrants. Since 2015, DRC has been engaged in providing access to sports and creative activities for unaccompanied minors as well as refugee and migrant children and youth. Partly by providing membership grants to participate in activity clubs and associations, and partly through strategic partnerships with municipalities and national organisations aiming to ensure equal opportunities in sports. DRC establishes local volunteer groups that receive training in empowerment of refugee and migrant families to facilitate their long-term inclusion in local activities and communities.
Prospettiva Cooperative. Italy
The "Prospettiva" Cooperative was founded in Catania in 1981 with the aim of offering useful services to support people in difficult situations. Since 1987 Prospettiva has chosen to devote itself to the protection of minors: rooted in the San Giovanni Galermo district, but active throughout the Catania area, Prospettiva works on the design and implementation of innovative services in the continuous search for new models of educational intervention. Prospettiva believes that supporting children and adolescents in their growth path means overcoming isolation and social exclusion.
The Cooperative deals with community reception for Italian and foreign minors, with gender dysphoria and / or with behavioral disorders. In addition, at its aggregation center "Il Crogiolo", it offers socio-educational and recreational services with the main objective of integration: the center is equipped with sports fields and rooms for performing and artistic activities. The Cooperative began experimenting with the FutbolNet methodology of the Barça Foundation in 2017 with the approval of the Ministry of the Interior, and in particular of the Mission Structure and the AMIF Unit. To date, 284 unaccompanied foreign children and young people from 9 shelters have benefited from FutbolNet.
European Football for Development Network. The Netherlands
The European Football for Development Network was formed in 2014 and is legally established as the EFDN Foundation. EFDN is one of the fastest-growing community development organisations in European Football with over 109 members from 30 European countries, including Inter Milan, FC Barcelona, PSG, Benfica, Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk, Chelsea, Belgium Pro League, and the National Football Associations of Iceland, Romania and Portugal.
EFDN has created the first platform for European professional football Clubs, Leagues, FAs and their associated foundations to collaborate to achieve common goals and improve the lives of individuals across Europe. The network works together to exchange knowledge and best practices to tackle a wide range of social issues. EFDN currently delivers 19 European programmes designed to engage hard to reach target groups, using football as a tool for development. EFDN is very active in the promotion of the social impact of European Football. Each year, EFDN initiate #MorethanFootball Action Weeks where football clubs, leagues and FA’s promote the social power of football. In 2020, the campaign reached over 40 million people. Additionally, EFDN organises international conferences with over 400 CSR-experts from across Europe uniting to discuss the social power of football.