The United Nations World Refugee Day recognises the bravery of refugees across the globe, who are fleeing war, natural disasters, persecution or terror. No one should have to experience what millions, unfortunately, do each and every year.
The result of leaving ones home with no possessions and little food leads to severe hunger, trauma, disease and violence.
World Refugee Day is designed to help raise awareness and to strengthen public understanding of what refugees go through on a daily basis and to focus on constructive ways to help.
Founded in March 2018 the FIFA Foundation was formed with the sole objective of helping promote positive social change around the world. The goals are overseen by the FIFA Foundation Board, which is led by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and may be supported by FIFA, FIFA Partners and FIFA Legends.
The FIFA Foundation supports organisations who are doing work to change and improve the lives of the underprivileged. Each year the foundation invites well-established non-profit entities who are addressing social issues like refugees to apply for funding.
“Football knows no borders,” said FIFA Foundation CEO Youri Djorkaeff. “It is a game for everyone, everywhere. The FIFA Foundation is proud to support those who employ football’s transformative power to make a difference in the lives of refugees around the world. Millions of people are forced to leave their homes and deserve a worthy place in society.”
FIFA.com shines the spotlight on four non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – who receive funds from the FIFA Foundation – that are doing incredible work specifically by supporting refugees through the beautiful game.
Soccer Without Borders (Uganda)
Soccer Without Borders Uganda offers daily soccer skills, life skills and English language programming to hundreds of out-of-school refugee youth in Kampala. Resources for refugees in Uganda are extremely strained, and as the settlements balloon in size, more refugees flee to Kampala, where support services are more limited.
In addition to improving the physical and mental health prospects for refugee youth in Kampala, the organisation seeks to improve social integration and gender equality through expanded programming that will involve expanded numbers to serve additional youth and hire more staff.
Football United (Australia)
Football United in Greater Western Sydney uses football to offer free, accessible and safe spaces for refugee and other vulnerable youth, fostering connections and creating chances through fair-play football and football-based life skills programmes.
Weekly football sessions are provided in collaboration with community organisations and schools around New South Wales, particularly situated in culturally and linguistically diverse neighbourhoods. In addition, regular youth leadership workshops are realised with the aim to enhance pro-social behaviour and self-confidence as the youth leaders serve as mentors for younger programme participants.
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“With football it was easy for me to make friends even though I didn’t speak English because we found we already had something in common.”
— Football Federation Australia (@FFA) June 19, 2020
Oltalom Sports Association (Hungary)
Oltalom Sport Association targets young, disadvantaged people in different locations in Hungary. Weekly football sessions are organised at primary schools and public football pitches. As many of the programme’s participants are migrants and refugees, the organisation also offers weekly English and Hungarian language training to help build the participants’ language and communication skills.
There is also an organised female group activity, which serves as a safe place for female migrant and refugee players. At Oltalom they have the chance to discuss their needs and problems in a safe environment and to discuss their situation and role as females in the family and society. This enables them to start to process their trauma, which helps to support their integration into a new culture.
Soccer Without Borders (USA)
Soccer Without Borders works with refugee, asylee and immigrant youth across the USA. The organisation has been growing steadily in depth and reach, responding to the increasing need for services supporting refugees and immigrants against a hostile backdrop of anti-immigrant rhetoric in the US.
The organisation continue to invest in training, monitoring and evaluation, and program development will enable Soccer Without Borders to deepen and expand their programming in five key regions where newcomer populations are growing rapidly: Greater Boston (Massachusetts), Baltimore (Maryland), Northern Colorado, the Bay Area (California) and Greater Seattle.