Page 1


Increasing refugee participation in sports activities – from the Refugee Council and the Football Foundation

Breaking barriers through football and film

ACTIVITIES LIKE sport give young people a sense of self-esteem, confidence, belonging and, more importantly, serve as an avenue for deeper integration with their neighbourhood. These advantages could be of immense benefit to refugees too. Refugees often arrive in new countries ill-equipped to face the ,continued , back page

London Football Journeys uses football and film to engage young people from different communities in London to develop their leadership skills and support integration

SEASON’S GREETINGS FROM SCORES PROJECT THE SCORES project would like to wish all our readers, partners and volunteers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2013. During the past two years, SCORES has achieved amazing outcomes including increased awareness of the role of sports within refugee communities and encouraging refugee participation in sport and physical activities. We achieved this through organising workshops and seminars as well as through the provision of advice, information, and support to community leaders and representatives of refugee community organisations (RCOs), and enabling them to develop sports activities with a particular focus on football.

In 2012 we organised a football tournam e nt i n co nj u n c t i o n w i th th e N e w Communities Forum – Coventry. The winner of the tournament was STEUA FC (above),

a new team recently created by a group of young people from the Roma community in Coventry. But creating sports projects for refugee women continues to be a challenge. For this reason, the SCORES project is working tirelessly to encourage refugee women’s organisations to overcome cultural barriers and to develop sport projects that encourage refugee women to participate massively in sport and physical activities. In this regard, two workshops are scheduled to take place in January. They will be organised in conjunction with the Council of Somali ,continued , page 3

If you would like more information about how SCORES can support your RCO, call Ezechias Ngendahayo on 020 7346 1163 or email

WHAT THEY SAY … I used to run for my life, but now I’m running for joy … to inspire kids who might be refugees or in a really bad situation like I was. Lopez Lomong, a former “Lost Boy” child refugee from South Sudan who ran in the 5,000 metres for the United States in the London 2012 Games Football: regular activity over 10 years I have experienced and witnessed how football is a universal language with the power to bring unlikely groups of people together. I feel very strongly about the power of being open-minded to new people, places and life perspectives. I believe people who are open to learning from others and sharing new ideas are more likely to realise their potential and be positive citizens in the communities they live in. London’s diversity of people and communities is one of the most spectacular examples of a multicultural society in the world. This environment offers infinite opportunities for learning and exchanging of ideas. For me this is the essence of London Football Journeys’ work: to support personal development through broadening horizons and learning from people from diverse backgrounds. Alex Baine, founder of London Football Journeys


,,from front page Organisations and the West London Women’s Forum. The workshops aim to encourage refugee women organisations to explore ways of working together and developing sport projects for refugee women across London. The first workshop will take place on 16 January 2013 at Oxford house in East London and the second will take place on 23 January at Empire house in North West London. 99 For more information on how your RCO can get involved and on other SCORES project activities, please contact Ezechias Ngendahayo on ezechias.ngendahayo@

Karate: enhancing a sense of belonging

Projects that uplift Roma sporting culture WHO SAYS Roma do not like sport? In fact, they do and they enjoy it too. The Roma Support Group (RSG) knows better. As a grassroots organisation, the RSG has responded to the needs of Roma community members in developing sport projects to assuage this thirst for sport, especially football, amongst young Roma. “Football was a dream for many young Roma and they led us to facilitate regular football activities over 10 years ago which are still ongoing,” s ay s Sy l v i a I n g m i r e , t h e co-ordinator/CEO of the group. “A decade of matches later, won or lost, we have witnessed a generation of Roma youngsters maturing from childhood to adulthood. “Some of their journeys w e nt b e y o n d o u r w e ek l y s e s s i o n s a n d en de d w i th football teams, such as Leyton Orient and West Ham; some others progressed to further education, universities and professional careers.” According to Sylvia Ingmire, this journey has not been stress-free. In fact, there were many thorns on the way. Many youngsters wanted to become the David Beckhams of their generation. Despite all odds, it seems their dreams

and aspirations were, after all, not in vain. Krio, a 13-year-old Roma footballer, commented after a match: “We lost it, but we will win in a minute. We will get better and become the best in London!” His words echo that of every new Roma player entering the team. The Roma Support Group is a Roma-led community organisation. It aims to improve the quality of life of Roma refugees

Like football, karate is also a bridge to further aspirations and educational achievements and migrants and make the public aware of Roma heritage, culture, arts and their current situation in the UK. Sport, especially football, is one of the ways they are achieving this aim. But there is also karate, which was introduced to the community about six years ago by Stan Kierpacz, a Roma karate champion and educator, who had a vision and an insight of how instrumental this sport can be for Roma children and young people’s personal and

educational development. Stan has trained some of his students to become trainers to younger members, hence putting in motion a selfsustainable model of sport development, owned by and working for the community. Like football, karate is also a bridge to further aspirations and educational achievements and many of the participants have already progressed with their educational prospects. “Our experiences in developing sport projects have taught us that the most important route to success is to listen to the community and be led by their aspirations and talents. “ We a l s o e n c o u r a g e non-Roma young people to participate in our activities, which help build friendships and mutual understanding. “The role of community sport is to encourage people who face barriers in accessing mainstream sport activities to engage and develop new interests. “Sport can help to address social exclusion, discrimination and disadvantages experienced by many refugees and migrants, while enhancing team spirit and a sense of belonging to one’s wider community and area,” says Sylvia Ingmire.

CULTURAL BARRIERS, practical and financial constraints and lack of culturally appropriate programmes have been identified as the main obstacles working against the participation of refugees in sporting activities. Lucy Morgan, information and polic y officer of the Australian Refugee Council, notes the Australian Sports Commission says that 80% of all Australians participate in sports. But people from non-English speaking backgrounds and people belonging to culturally and linguistic diverse communities – both groups that include refugees – are less likely to participate in sports and physical activities than the general population. In her report The Role of Sport in Assisting Refugee Settlement, she notes that culture could be a significant barrier for women, whose opportunities to participate in sport can be limited by both the nature of sporting environments themselves and restrictions from within their own communities. “For instance, the need to wear uniforms or other sports attire may be a barrier to participation for women whose religious or cultural traditions mandate certain dress codes,” she says. “These gender specific constraints may explain why women … have a particularly low participation rate in sport”. Language can also be a barrier to participation in sports. People who

can speak English very well had a far higher participation rate than those who could not speak English. The report also notes that, while sport can promote inclusiveness and contribute to the breaking down of cultural barriers, it can also act as a site for exclusion, discrimination and racism. Lucy Morgan notes the “apparent absence of current sport projects that target members of refugee communities specifically” and concludes that refugee groups may have been overlooked as main targets of physical activity promotion work. She says that because refugees usually arrive with no possessions or financial assets, the costs of participating in sports are often prohibitive and this could be an important barrier considering that the costs of club and representative sport are often beyond the means even of non-refugees. For sport programmes to integrate people from refugee backgrounds, it is essential for unique cultural needs to be taken into account, she says. Transferring a programme that seems to work well for Englishspeaking communities with little regard for underlying ethnic and cultural considerations often results in unsuccessful programme delivery. “A lack of culturally appropriate programs can, therefore, be expected to negatively impact on refugees’ ability to participate in sport”.

Children section turns 18 THE REFUGEE Council, in collaboration with the Penguin Books, has launched an audio library of stories from refugees on what it means to them to turn 18. It celebrates the 18th birthday of the Refugee Council’s Children Section. Most of the stories were produced after a writing workshop organised by the Refugee Council and Penguin and chaired by Booker prize nominee Romesh Gunesekera. Refugee Council chief executive Shan Nicholas told the launch event at

the Museum of Childhood in London that the stories “echo the terrifying and lonely experiences of many of the children we work with every day, but also illustrate the courage many of them have to move forward with their lives despite that”. Podcasts of the project are available online. They include introductions from celebrities including Vivienne Westwood, Grayson Perry and Zoë Wanamaker. Joe Dunthorne, author of the best-selling novel Submarine, also submitted a guest contribution.


Barriers to refugee participation in sport A RIGHT TO PLAY

Claude Marshall (above), a full-time volunteer consultant at UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, who raises public awareness and private sector support for sport and education programmes for refugee children talks about his work You have worked full time for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for 14 years without a salary. Why? I was a refugee myself as a child. I was born in 1932 in Heidelberg, Germany. Fortunately, my father saw the writing on the wall and managed to take us to the United States to escape the Nazi persecution of the Jews. UNHCR has given me the opportunity to give something back to the refugee cause –remembering that when my family landed in New York in 1936, we were refugees with no money, no home, but a lot of hope, and that worked out. Now I want to give refugee children that same kind of hope. What role do sport programmes play in the lives of refugee children? Sport can help young refugees regain a valuable part of their lost childhood. Refugee children have often suffered enormously, leaving them severely traumatised. They have witnessed war and persecution first hand. Many have been forcibly recruited as child soldiers, or been victims of sexual violence. They may have seen their parents murdered, or were separated from them in the panic and chaos of fleeing. The trauma does not end when they finally make it to a refugee camp. Some refugee children are born in camps and many spend most of their growing years in such places, often with no access to sport or recreation.

Children have a right to play; a need to play. Sport provides them with a semblance of normality and some structure to their lives. It provides many psycho-social benefits and gives them an outlet for chanelling their energy in a positive way that can benefit them for the rest of their lives. This is especially valid for children fleeing from conflict situations. Sport develops tolerance, cooperation, an appreciation of rules. It motivates refugee children to attend camp schools, which is particularly important for girls who are all too often left out. It helps children regain a childhood lost. How do you see the future of the refugee youth sport programme? Sport and education are vital for refugee kids, but with some 21 million people of concern worldwide … I think the next step is to hand it over to a professional, full-time refugee sport coordinator whose position is supported entirely by one recognised outside donor … it’s obvious that the function has now reached a level that requires a full-time leader who can plan and implement more sport programmes and enlist even more partners to work with us to help millions of refugee children. We’d like the refugee sport coordinator position to be something like an established chair at a university, funded by a single donor. ■■ From

Breaking barriers ,,from front page ch a l l e n g e s p o s e d b y th e i r new communities. They are confronted by hydra-headed problems of racism, xenophobia, language barrier and lack of equal opportunity. To beat these challenges sports could play a formidable role and no organisation can testify to this better than London Football Journeys (LFJ), a charity that uses football and film to engage young p e ople from different communities in London to develop their leadership skills and support integration. Founded in 2012, LFJ is about

young people from different communities learning from each other and learning about each other. Working together across physical and cultural boundaries for a practical common goal, using the language and love of football as a mobilising force, LFJ takes young people out of their area and out of their comfort zone, developing their skills and confidence to interact with people they don’t know. Twelve-year-old Ehsan Ghoas benefitted from this initiative:“I learnt how to get on well with people and good leadership (skills),” he said. “My perception of their area changed, it (LFJ) encourages people to do something new, meet new people and be confident in new places.”

But more importantly and not being oblivious to the havoc gang life is causing among young people, London Football Journeys is aware that postcode division is a dominant factor inhibiting young people from moving freely and meeting people from different areas and backgrounds around London. This narrow outlook on life hinders their ability to communicate effectively, be open to opportunities and broaden horizons both personally and academically. Adani Osmani, who is 12, says: “It was scary (at the beginning) because I didn’t know what they were going to be like. I wasn’t really confident going to other places and meeting new people, but now I’ve met these lot I’ll be OK for the next time. I’d like to

do it with more groups because we can learn more skills and meet new people.” LF J g roups make vide os about their area and identity, screen them to other participating teams and then take part in football exchanges in their respective areas, which are delivered by professional football club foundations. “It (LFJ) allows them to meet people that they would never necessarily meet, it allows them to break away from their normal environment and normal social hub and, who knows, they could make really good friends with others from the other group and develop their confidence and self-esteem,” says Alex Gordon a community coach at Queens Park Rangers in the Community Trust.



Sports clubs, associations and schools can apply to the Lord’s Taverners for funding to assist with the purchase of manual sports wheel chairs for young people aged between eight and 25. The scheme is to help young disabled people participate in and enjoy wheelchair sport. The funding, which is being made available through the Sports Wheelchairs Sponsorship Scheme, will award

Disadvantaged young people under the age of 18 who do not have the financial means to participate in sport can apply for financial support from the Dickie Bird Foundation. The foundation aims to help disadvantaged young people to participate to the best of their ability in the sport of their choice irrespective of their social circumstances, culture or ethnicity. The foundation grants can

grants of up to 50% of the cost of the wheelchair with a maximum grant of £1,500. The Lord’s Taverners also have a multi-sports wheelchair scheme that enables applicants to obtain a standard chair at a subsidised cost of £350. Applications can be submitted at any time. ■■ charity/support-and-funding/ sport-wheelchairs.htm

Refugee Council is a registered charity Charity number: 1014576 Company number: 2727514

help with the cost of clothing and equipment and make a small contribution towards travel expenses within the UK. The foundation will only accept applications from individuals, not organisations. Applications can be submitted at any time and will be considered at trustees’ meetings in February, May, August, October and December. ■■ www.thedickiebirdfoundation.

SCORES! 5 • July December 2012  

Newsletter published by the UK Refugee Council and Football Foundation for refugee organisations designed to increase participation in sport

SCORES! 5 • July December 2012  

Newsletter published by the UK Refugee Council and Football Foundation for refugee organisations designed to increase participation in sport