Social Inclusion Opportunities

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Newsletter #1


MATCH - How to make sport more inclusive

Sport is an exemplary tool to promote social inclusion and is applicable for all groups of socially excluded youth, such as refugees and asylum seekers and migrants. People living on the peripheries of society experience challenges at economic and social level and face obstacles and life challenges that needed be taken into consideration and addressed with tools like sport in order to empower them.

Match social inclusion opportunities, a 2-year project co-funded by the Erasmus + Programme, Collaborative Partnership in field of Sport, intends to foster increased participation of asylum seekers, refugees and local young people in sport activities and to create a constructive dialogue between different social groups.
The project aims to strengthen cooperation among operators in the social and sport sectors in order to mutually use the skills acquired in the educational and sport fields. These operators, following the international training course on using sport as a tool for social inclusion which took place in Palermo (Italy) last June, will have the opportunity to train young locals and those with a migration background to become "sports educators" this autumn. With the support of sport, youth workers and partners organisations, youngsters involved will put into practice the skills they acquired or strengthened in the several local activities taking place in the all the six countries involved (Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Netherlands, Spain) which include: implementation of sports tournaments targeting youth, renovation of public spaces in favour of sport, organisation of Anti-racist Festivals etc.
Preparation for International Training Course – News from Spain

After identifying and selecting the team who would participate in the International Training Course (ITC) in Palermo in mid July, we held several meetings to prepare and discuss sport as an inclusion tool and to try to identify the best practices in our community. In this way we introduced the team to the content of the ITC and also started thinking how to develop the next interventions of the MATCH project in our city Banyoles.
During these meetings the team discussed sport and social inclusion initiatives already being developed in Banyoles. Apart from different small groups, some programmes are working with these topics like ‘Tarda Jove’ (Young afternoon) or ‘Futbol Net’ (Clean football).
This conversation resulted in the group discussing what kind of activities could be interesting to implement to improve and complement the existing ones. One of the main conclusions was that the programme/activity must recognise the interests of the community in order to boost their capacity to involve themselves in the organisation and maintenance, as a key factor for success.
The experience was really interesting because each participant knew different aspects of the activities being held at the moment, mainly targeting people between 14 and 18 years old, and we realise that they could be complemented with other ones to reach older people. Also we noticed that programmes don’t mix local people with migrants.
The whole team was fully involved with the aims of the project and the possibility of implementing some new activity. This is very important to ensure the success and follow up of the project objectives.
Interesting meetings, good conclusions and great warm up for the ITC of Palermo!!
International Training Course“Inclusive Sport”
From 15th to 22nd of July 2017, the International Training Course (ITC) “Inclusive Sport” took place in Palermo (Italy) hosted by CESIE. ITC gathered together a great number of sport trainers and youth workers from the partner countries, with the aim to share and discuss practical experiences in the field of social inclusion. Specifically the ITC aimed to single out the best methods, tools and competencies required for the social integration and inclusion of refugee asylum seekers and other socially vulnerable groups, one of the requirements for the implementation of MATCH project.
During an intensive eight days, the participants got to know each other very well, collaborate and work together, share their different experiences and most importantly develop a common training programme by combining all of their different, yet unique experiences in working with the asylum seekers and socially challenged youth. Each day the ITC consisted of group and team work, ice breaking games, presentations and fruitful discussions, and each day was enriched by different social events, like intercultural bazaar and outdoor activities. One of the most beneficial activities was specifically organised to present the work with disadvantaged groups in real life situations, therefore the participants were given an opportunity to visit deprived areas in Palermo, where local associations develop bottom-up actions for social inclusion.
If one is to sum up the results of ITC, one would say that a group of diverse people, coming from different parts of Europe, different institutions, backgrounds and contexts have worked together as a team for seven days, thinking and learning from each other to reach the following conclusions
  • Sport is an exemplary tool for the implementation of social inclusion and is applicable for all groups of socially excluded youth
  • In spite of cultural differences, challenges regarding the issue of social exclusion are all very similar
  • Sport as a utilitarian tool is versatile not just for its application in social inclusion but as well for its application in how  social inclusion should be perceived
Upon the conclusion of the International Training Course, all the participants returned to their respective countries, ready to design and organise local training courses having acquired new knowledge and practical experience and to share and transfer all that they have learned to future sport trainers and youth workers. 
Lifetime adventure  - a testimony about the International Training Course

My name is Yolena and I would like to tell you about the adventure in Palermo (Italy) which was full of wonderful experiences. In the training course, connected with integration and sports, I met around 30 people, whom I didn't know at all, but at the end we became really close to each other.
The programme was quite intensive - we were busy from 9 to 5 with one hour lunch break and some coffee breaks. In the first days the sessions were more theoretical; then, in the following days, we had more practical and active activities, playing games and exercises.

We had a lot of discussions, connected with the topic and talked about how these groups think and how they can be easily integrated. Everybody agreed that one good way of doing that is through sports, no matter if it is a competitive game or just having fun, while moving. We also discussed the relationships between the coach and the team, how to organise an event and what are the basic differences between formal, non-formal and informal education.
The culmination of the training for me was the visit in Palermo. We went to one district area – ZEN - where HANDALA, a voluntary association based in Palermo, showed us the real view of the situation in the poor districts. For some of us it was something we have almost never faced. However, the fact that there really are some active people there, who try to find ways to improve the quality of life of children and people through sport and other educational tools, is optimistic. And so  the time to go home came quickly. Indisputably, it was hard to leave this place and go back to our daily routine. We said goodbye, exchanged our contacts and flew to our countries with the notion that we have created some memories that would be remembered for a lifetime.
Yolena from Bulgaria

Learning experience from a participant
Here you can find a short interview with Bah David Ngu, a Greek Forum Refugees representative and participant in the ITC in Palermo.
What impressions you have when the ITC in Palermo started and when it finished? 
My impression when ITC started and ended was so deep because I knew it was for me to meet people from other countries who are going to help me to learn the things which I don't know and for me to give in too the little I know and at the end of the ITC I realized that I have achieved great knowledge from the ITC.
What did you give  to the ITC participants and what did you get from them?
I think I gave my best to the participants and I received the best from the participants too, because the experience I gathered shows that ITC was very good.
How will you transfer this learning experience once you are back in Greece?
I believe I am going to transfer my learning experience by applying all what I studied while in the ITC in Palermo to those who have been affected with social and economic conflict not forgetting the society and the entire Greek community.
From your personal and professional experience, how sports can be a tool for social integration for refugees?
From my personal and professional experience, sports can be a tool to the society and integration of asylum seekers and refugees by bringing people together, building communities and fighting attitude of xenophobia and racism, sport has the power and potentials of making an important contribution to the integration  of migrants and refugees and the society .Focus point on the unemployability of young people,including young professionals , sportsmen and women and the creation of jobs in the sports and sport related market.
Please share your best memories  in ITC in Palermo?
My best memories, I can’t just stop thinking of the sweet memories of ITC in Palermo, it will leave with me for ever. I don't know which side to start with because just everything was a memory to me. Nice friends and the way we interact with each other’s in fact it was just like a family meeting. Secondly the environment was friendly, the training course itself was nice and educative and the experience I got from the fellow participants was just UNFORGETABLE.



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