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05.04.2018 - News

Using sport to change children’s lives

The 6th of April marks the fifth international day of sport for development and peace. Protecting children through sport in humanitarian crises or vulnerable situations around the world, Terre des hommes (Tdh) counts on football as a strong tool which has a positive psychological and social impact on them. Our new ambassador Roman Bürki, the Swiss goalkeeper, shares our believe in its importance. Discover our activities in images.

Roman Bürki Ambassador Terre des hommes (Tdh)

“Sport helps build relationships. Just like other sports, football has its own language. You immediately understand, whether or not you’re part of the team. For me, this is an important part of childhood – being able to build relationships no matter where you come from,” explains Roman Bürki, currently goalkeeper for the Borussia Dortmund club and ambassador of Tdh.

Egypt: integrating children through football

Egypt psychosocial activities for children for integration - Terre des hommes (Tdh) ©Tdh/Jean-Luc Marchina

The Tdh football activities in Egypt for refugee children and children from vulnerable backgrounds do not only teach them sports but also build their life skills, and help them integrate and look towards the future. Khozayma Mohamed Mando, the Syrian football coach explains: “I noticed that a lot of children have low self-confidence: they feel that they are lower than other people. Probably all of them have a problem, but with time they get more confident. Now, I am surprised of the behavior of the kids, and of their participation.” And a 16-year old Syrian boy adds: “Here, we don’t talk about nationality. We’re all the same.”

Promoting values in Colombia

Colombia football activities Terre des hommes (Tdh) ©Tdh/Sebastian Delgado

In Cordoba, a region that hosts a lot of internally displaced families from the armed conflict in Colombia, Tdh offers football games to improve the lives of vulnerable children. But here, the rules are played according to ‘Golombiao’, a Colombian football game which promotes values like non-violence, gender equality and good behavior. For this, two teams are chosen with the same amount of girls and boys and every second goal has to be done by the other gender – this is how the children learn about fairness and equality. As the rules are decided and set up with their participation, the young people also respect them more. The goal of the game is not to win, but to promote team spirit.

Romania: Move together

Football activities Terre des hommes Romania (Tdh)

Our “Move together” project in Romania uses sports as a way to strengthen intercultural dialogue and social connections between refugees and host communities. “Many Romanians have never had any direct contact with refugees, they do not know them personally. We would like to bring these communities closer together and increase mutual understanding,” explains Kirsten Theuns, Tdh Delegate for Romania and Ukraine. Through this project, both refugee and Romanian children will be given the opportunity to learn from each other, increase their self-confidence and build lasting relationships.

©Tdh/Jean-Luc Marchina et Sebastian Delgado