World Refugee Day
Fare Refugee XI 2023
We have all been reminded again of the fragility of our lives.
In these troubling times, football can be proud that it has played a positive role, with organisations across the globe actively responding and offering help and support to refugees and asylum seekers.
Since 2015 Fare has created a Refugee XI to mark World Refugee Day and celebrate the contribution and role refugees play in the life of the societies in which they live. We do this by showcasing male and female players from refugee backgrounds who represent those achievements.
This year to mark the incredible work grassroots organisations play in supporting refugees, we present a Refugee XI with a difference. Instead of picking 11 professional players, we have chosen 11 organisations to celebrate. These groups represent just some of the incredible people working in this area, it is a movement that deserves recognition.
League of Tolerance Ukraine
League of Tolerance have been a figurehead for football and its ability to work with marginalised communities in Ukraine for some time. They have vast experience of working with vulnerable people, including those internally displaced, and using sports for social education, inclusion and democratic participation. Since the war in Ukraine began, the League of Tolerance has shifted their mission
and provided emergency support to vulnerable families, mostly disabled children, helping over 130 families reach safety in Western Ukraine and the borders, while also offering legal, psychological and social support.
Etnoliga has been providing sports activities for refugees at their base in Warsaw since 2004. Their refugees include people from across the post- Soviet region - Georgians, people from the Caucuses and other regions you generally do not hear about - alongside Syrians, Afghans and others. They use football to break prejudices, empower participants and build community. In 2020 Etnologa were awarded the UEFA grassroots club award. With the arrival of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, they have been providing emergency kits, legal assistance and shelter in the border between Poland and Ukraine. This summer they are looking to deliver mobile football courses in refugees camps.
Facebook : etnoliga
Organization Earth Greece
Organization Earth work have had a huge impact across Greece supporting refugees and asylum seekers in hostile conditions. OE uses sport as a vehicle for inclusion, community cohesion and advocacy. They are aware of the additional challenges facing refugee women and girls, and organise sports activities in refugee camps specifically aimed at women and girls and to encourage their engagement with wider society.
Fugees Family USA
The growing number of refugee and sport projects in the US are exemplified by the Fugees Family, who have been working with refugees on football related projects since 2006. The organisation uses football to support the education of refugees through two academies in Atlanta and Columbus and the development of expertise through training materials. Their work had tangible results demonstrating student achievement growth rates above the national average withy 92% graduating from high school and a 100% college acceptance rate.
Champions Ohne Grenzen Germany
For the last decade Champions Ohne Grenzen has provided sports for refugees in Berlin, putting football at the centre of their activities through various training courses, including mixed trainings and sessions dedicated to women and girls. They have become one of Europe’s most acknowledged development groups and set as one of their key goals a response to the lack of women coaches. To achieve this, they have launched the Start2Coach training programme for refugees of all genders to teach them coaching skills and support them through development pathways.
Girl Power Denmark
Girl Power was founded by Khalida Popal with the mission of using sport and education to create social inclusion and highlight the contribution of women and girls from all backgrounds, especially ethnic minorities and refugees. Now running activities in 13 countries across Europe and the Middle East, Girl Power strives to engage women and girls in sports activities and leadership and to counter increasingly pervasive xenophobic and sexist societal attitudes.
Team AutreMonde France
Since 2018 “Autremonde” has been using football to fight against the exclusion of migrants and refugees. They say they promote an unconditional welcome as a “fundamental value of society”. Their football team aims to develop links between people, creating safe places where refugees can express themselves, and come together every week to share their passion. This year they organised a photo exhibition to promote their work to welcome refugees.
Associacio Ramassa Spain
Associació Esportiva Ramassà is a football club and NGO using sport as a tool for social change. As well as offering weekly football training sessions for refugees in Catalonia, the club also organises recreational activities to facilitate effective integration. Ramassa has launched a women’s team that focuses on creating a community and fun for a section of the population so often excluded. The team are building string foundations playing in tournaments and showing what can be done in Spain.
Kraainem Football Club Belgium
Royal Europa 90 Kraainem FC is an amateur football club that has established itself in Belgium as a club of diversity.
Kraainem Football Club has been running an exemplary initiative to integrate young asylum-seeking refugees since 2015. During the sporting season from September to May, the Club welcomes groups of young refugees and asylum seekers every afternoon. They are offered conversation tables and take part in football training with the club's youth teams. This initiative is intended to be an ongoing part of the integration process for these young people.
Facebook: Kraainem Football
Altropallone is a non-profit organisation that implements projects, communication and awareness-raising campaigns using sport as a social educational tool. They work in Italy and around the world through targeted actions promoting integration, equal opportunities and fighting against all kinds of discrimination.
Fútbol con Corazón Panama
Futbol con Corazon Panama has been promoting access to football for every child regardless of their background since 2017. As a transit country Panama welcomes a high number of refugees trying to reach the United States. According to the UNHCR, Panama hosts more than 15,500 refugees and asylum-seekers, but the numbers of people transiting are higher. FCC Panama run an inclusive league "Liga por todos" in which 240 children participate in matched in which there are no referees and the children make the rules themselves.
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