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WORLD REFUGEE DAY: FUTBOL MAS FOUNDATION USING SPORT FOR THE INTEGRATION OF REFUGEE COMMUNITIES

WORLD REFUGEE DAY: FUTBOL MAS FOUNDATION USING SPORT FOR THE INTEGRATION OF REFUGEE COMMUNITIES  

Kakuma and Daadab are ones of the largest refugee camps in the world, people of all ages who have been displaced by conflicts and wars in their countries. The first of them is one of the camps with the largest number of unaccompanied children, highlighting the role of schools and social and humanitarian organizations that ensure their integration and development.

Futbol Mas first set out to intervene in Africa in 2017 in two disadvadvantaged communities of Kibera and Mathare at the heart of Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi. 3 years later, in July 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Futbol Mas intervened in two of some of the world’s biggest refugee camps, Kakuma and Daadab.

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The life of any refugee is filled with lots of uncertainty but it’s highly likely that with the pandemic, refugee communities’ risk greater isolation which could result in higher levels of stress, worsened mental health issues and increased cases of family and child violence. This being the case, Futbol Mas objective has been to work with the youth, parents and staff in these communities to better cope with this situation.

Through the sports program, Futbol Mas work with the refugees focuses on making children and young people feel part of the communities in which they find themselves as well as dealing with the traumatic shock of migration and rebuilding their lives in new territories.

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In May 2021, Futbol Mas reached 2231 children,32 youth leaders and 15 adult caregivers in Kakuma and 597 children and 30 community leaders in Daadab. In the past couple of months Futbol Mas has designed and implemented field sessions aligned to the school calendar on a weekly basis, set up a Youth Leadership journey, carried out training on members of the community coordination team, set up the teacher’s module and finalized on the recruitment of staff.

Setting out to implement the program in new territories is never easy, but great and supportive partners make it a lot bearable to navigate. The program in the refugee communities is largely in partnership with UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and LWF (The Lutheran World Federation) who continue to work to protect and assist refugees everywhere.

As we commemorate this 21st world refugee day, as Futbol Mas we would like to highlight the daily challenges that are faced by refugees everywhere. We call upon other organizations and individuals to aim towards supporting refugee communities in developing technical skills that make them employable and integrate into new cultures, to encourage academic institutions to offer more scholarship opportunities to refugees and encourage employers to provide more opportunities for refugees.

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