Football to tackle exclusion
Egypt is a land of exile for numerous populations that have been forced to flee their countries. The conditions, however, are not always welcoming; young people and children often face exclusion. Tdh transforms this exclusion into participation thanks to the “Our strength” project. This project allows hundreds of young girls and boys to regain self-confidence and to rebuild socially around a ball.
By the end of 2018, Egypt was hosting more than 238,000 refugees or migrants within its territory according to data received from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The country has refugees from over 60 countries, including Syria, Sudan, Eritrea, and Iraq, living in precarious conditions. Tensions with host communities are frequent.
An efficient tool for socialisation
Together with local partners, we provide psychosocial support to children, for example with the help of sports, to improve social integration and to empower them. The “Our strength” project is part of this approach and focuses on football as a means of socialisation. The regular practice of this sport adds to the quality of life for numerous young people. Through weekly training, they learn and develop respect for others, cooperation, participation and creativity.
Tdh offers its project at ten sites within Cairo and its suburbs, as well as in New Damietta. The teams are deployed to seven existing family centers and also operate three mobile units. At the end of 2018, “Our strength” brought together 658 boys, 176 girls, 39 coaches and more than 700 parents. Eventually, 1500 young people will be able to participate. 70 coaches will be hired to lead this project.
“The children stick to the rules themselves”
The rhythm is regular: one to two practices per week. Two events, which include the parents, are held each month and two tournaments are organised each year. One of our coaches, Khozayma Mohamed Mando, notes the positive effects of this project on young people: “When children arrive here for the first time, their mind first goes to fighting and insulting others. We drafted a code of conduct together with the children and stuck it on the wall. After a few weeks, I took the sheet down. They now stick to the rules themselves.” Day after day, the coaches do their best to improve the relationships between all of the different participants. Little by little, this project brings about improved living conditions and better relations between the communities.