Socio-sports school for street children

  • Location and general information


    The legacy of decades of war in Afghanistan is a nationwide breakdown of social and economic structures. Poverty is the main determinant of child labour. Many families have no choice but to send their children out to work. Street work is the most common among children: they sell items such as cigarettes and newspapers all day long, exposed to harsh conditions and under threat of abuse.
    Action for Development has decided to tackle the issue of street children by launching an innovative project in the streets of Kabul that combines football with educational and nutritional services. The socio-sports school for street children will have a positive impact on marginalised youth wherever it is applied. Afghanistan’s context makes it a particularly good target for this project, not only because of the rapidly growing interest in football and the sport’s impact on the country generally, but also the positive effect it will have on girls in particular.

    Back-to-school activities
    Children over the age of six who have the potential to be reintegrated into the formal school system will be identified. This will be done in collaboration with local authorities, schools and parents.

    Awareness campaigns
    Meeting with families of children attending the school for awareness training. Mothers will be taught about topics such as children’s hygiene, disease and the dangers of drugs and prostitution. Special emphasis is placed on young girls’ issues as they are often the most vulnerable of street children.

    Local development
    Identifying children willing to take part i

n the project. As many as 120 children have already been enrolled but more children are to be given the opportunity to do so. Children need to be committed to attend the training sessions. Priority is given to orphans and children who have a disabled parent, and 50% of the participants must be girls.
Those children in need of medical assistance will be sent to the general health centre where they will be provided with free healthcare.
Sports activities will be run by coaches at fixed times during the week. Groups are formed according to age and where necessary by gender, and each group will have two sessions each week. The school’s tutoring activities will be held before or after the sports activities. All activities will be conducted in Dari and in Pashto, the main languages in Afghanistan. Attendance of the tutoring activities will be flexible to allow the children to keep working as this is still their only means of survival.


  • The overall objective of this project is to provide the street children of Kabul’s district 11 with an opportunity to gain a basic education and learn to read and write.
  • Find a suitable location where the children typically work to avoid long commutes on foot.
  • Have suitable facilities for the socio-sports school that is easily accessible to children, close to the road, near the Ghazi high school (15-minute walk), and has a football pitch that could be used for playing football and training.
  • To develop social abilities through sport and football especially and help them integrate into normal school programmes.

Expected results

  • Train coaches to promote knowledge transfer and empower the local population
  • Provide 400 street children with extra nutrition and access to primary medical care
  • Reduce the number of illiterate street children
  • Work with 300 families to reintegrate some of the street children into the formal school system
  • Teach 300 families about the risks of street work, the importance of education, and hygiene and sanitation to reduce risks of disease


Cruyff Courts in the Dutch Caribbean

Location and general information


Many people live in poverty on the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saint Martin. The recent damage caused by Hurricane Irma, aggravated the local economy and the quality of life.

The project’s target groups live in residential areas just above the poverty line: work does not provide a living income. The quality of education has improved in recent years, but still not to a level that allows adults to live independent lives. Poverty in the Caribbean gives rise to health problems, including obesity, and sometimes leads to child abuse. For many children it is impossible to obtain a proper education, join a sports club and practise safely. This has serious consequences for the children’s health and personal development.

The Cruyff Foundation has been running its Cruyff Courts project since 2005 on Aruba and Bonaire, and 2006 on Sint Eustatius and Saint Martin. The project provides a safe place where children can play, socialise, make friends, and develop their own talent. These are valuable experiences that they carry with them as they develop physically and mentally, and as they move into adult society.

The project was set up in cooperation with the Dutch ministry of health, welfare and sports and is run in cooperation with local sports organisations.

Cruyff Courts have provided thousands of children with a safe public place to play football or other sports in the heart of their community. Cruyff Courts have been used extensively by children and teenagers in this region over the past decade, but schools, sports clubs and other residents have also benefitted from the project. We ran capacity training programmes for coaches in Bonaire, Aruba and Sint Eustatius in 2011.

Project content

Many children live in poverty and have no opportunity to practise sport or take part in activities that help them develop emotionally and socially. Sport is a universal language, regardless of a child’s background, culture, religion or ability. Through sport and play, children become fitter, learn to interact, and develop mentally and physically. We therefore encourage them to take part in the activities at the Cruyff Courts.

A Cruyff Court is a modern interpretation of the traditional playing field that used to be found in many districts and communities before urbanisation. It is the place where children learn respect, health, integration, development and inclusion. Every week thousands of children are active on Cruyff Courts around the world, where they find a safe place to practise sport outdoors.

The pitches on these four Caribbean islands have suffered a lot after 11–12 years of heavy use and need to be refurbished to remain safe places. In the meantime, Hurricane Irma destroyed the Cruyff Court on Saint Martin and damaged the one on Sint Eustatius. So, these two pitches will be replaced with the Cruyff Court Field in a Box concept instead of being refurbished. This is the same principle as the UEFA Field in a Box project, i.e. a specially designed, enclosed artificial pitch, as recently launched by the UEFA Foundation for Children in Madrid and Poland. These pitches are a sustainable, durable and efficient solution.

To ensure the sustainability of this project, a new programme, Heroes of the Cruyff Courts, has been launched. The goal is to turn young people into role models for their neighbourhood and have them involved with the community and the Cruyff Court in the longer term. Events are organised to give young people the opportunity to discover and develop their talents while also being challenged to try something new. The project trains Cruyff Foundation coaches who then oversee youngsters while they organise a sports event for children in the community.


  • Summer 2018: Local coaches start training to become Cruyff Foundation coaches
  • Summer 2018: Refurbishment of Cruyff Courts on Aruba and Bonaire
  • Summer 2018/autumn 2018: Cruyff Court Field in a Box installed on Sint Eustatius and Saint Martin
  • Late 2018/early 2019: Inauguration of the new Cruyff Courts with the active participation of young people through the Heroes of the Cruff Courts programme
  • 2018–2028: Projects and activities run by locals (10-year contract) and continually monitored and evaluated by the Johan Cruyff Foundation


  • Cruyff Courts will provide at least six hours of sports activities a week for local children
  • Recruit new youngsters to take part in the Heroes of Cruyff Courts programme: learning to coach and organise sports activities and events, while also learning some basic business skills. Everyone who successfully completes the programme becomes a certified coach.
  • 250–500 children attending, playing and enjoying sports activities on the different Cruyff Courts
  • 1 Cruyff Foundation Coaching Course
  • 4 Cruyff Courts inauguration events
  • 4 events organised by 30 heroes/young people in 2019
  • 15 new certified coaches

Expected results

We aim to inspire more children to practise sport and play at Cruyff Courts every day.
We expect to encourage more schools and local organisations to be active in sport.
We believe that once children discover the joy of sport, they will continue to be active for the rest of their lives:

  • Regular physical activities from a young age provides a long-term advantage in motor-skill development
  • Sport and play have a positif impact on concentration and improve academic performance at school
  • Children who engage in regular physical activity have a much lower incidence of psychosocial and behavioural problems

About the Cruyff Foundation

The Johan Cruyff Foundation is an international non-profit organisation that aims to improve the intellectual/mental/emotional and physical well-being of children and teenagers by:

  • Standing up for the interests of children and young people who have fewer opportunities in life
  • Offering and encouraging sport and exercise activities by facilitating Schoolyard14 and (special) Cruyff Courts
  • Financially supporting other projects and organisations with the same objective
  • Encouraging sport in conjunction with education and healthcare
  • Stimulating cooperation between various similar organisations in the Netherlands and abroad
  • Stimulating integration between the various sectors of the population
  • In addition to Cruyff Courts and Schoolyard14 special attention is paid to disabled children

The Cruyff Foundation works with sport assocations and clubs, the foundations run other leading athletes, local, provincial and national governments, schools, institutions, rehabilitation centres and professional football organisations.


A ball for all children, a goal for inclusion

Location and general information


Visual impairment often raises questions or creates fear, especially fear of people who are different. Unfortunately, partially sighted or blind people are stigmatised and often seen or defined primarily as disabled rather than perceived as fully-fledged human beings. This attitude emphasises their exclusion and hinders their integration and inclusion in society, including that of the younger generations. Visually impaired children are often the target of taunts and thoughtless comments in schools. In Greece, schools’ lack of understanding or awareness is a barrier for inclusion.

Project content

Orama Neon Youthorama is a non-governmental organisation that has been operational since 2003. Following its international ‘Everybody Wins’ campaign, which promoted the Olympic and Paralympic values by using specially adapted footballs for the visually impaired, the organisation is now planning to launch the ‘A ball for all children, a goal for inclusion’ project. The project aims to inform and support schools, NGOs and the public sector organisations in order to create an inclusive society in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes. To this end, adapted balls that contain bells and feature the UEFA Foundation for Children logo will be distributed to the participants. These balls will play a key role in the project, in which the participants will play blind football, a sport that is truly inclusive. Every team must contain a mix of sighted and blind players, who must all demonstrate mutual understanding, trust and support as they work together as a team. Blind football also helps to promote a strong message of integration and social cohesion. By raising awareness, the project aims to change how visually impaired people are perceived. They should not be defined by their disability, but treated as fully-fledged players and people.


  • To create a more inclusive society at local and international levels
  • To promote healthy lifestyles by improving access to sport for everyone

Expected results

  • To impact 1,000 schoolchildren through awareness workshops in 15 schools
  • To provide 500 balls to the project participants
  • To support visually impaired child refugees in refugee camps by giving them specially adapted footballs
  • To work in schools with a high number of blind and visually impaired children
  • To produce a promotional video in order to raise awareness of inclusion activities


Football for All in Vietnam

Location and General Information


The Football for All in Vietnam (FFAV) project was initiated in 1997 and formally established in 2001 by means of a partnership between the Football Association of Norway (NFF) and the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF). FFAV uses football activities to teach life skills and promote cultural values to young children and adolescents. FFAV currently supports 1,541 teams at 183 clubs, with more than 17,000 children participating in these activities.

However, with certain children facing specific problems when it comes to integrating into their communities, this programme is set to be expanded in order to cover three specific groups:

  • Young girls – particularly girls from ethnic minorities – are often expected to conform to gender roles set out by society and their families, as well as facing issues associated with a lack of education and early marriage.
  • Children with disabilities are often treated as outsiders and seen as unable to fully participate in society because of their differences.
  • Children living on boats in resettlement areas face a plethora of societal issues as a consequence of being seen as different and inferior by local residents. This results in them being discriminated against, not wanting to go to school and not having many friends.


This project will extend the FFAV model to cover these children, specifically allocating resources to these groups in order to help them address the issues they face through participation in football and life skills activities. Alongside funding from UEFA, additional programmes and resources will be deployed in order to meet the following objectives:

  • fostering social inclusion – especially among parents and children – by giving girls, children with disabilities and children from resettlement areas greater access to football activities;
  • helping and supporting local partners, enabling them to facilitate grassroots football and life skills activities on the ground;
  • helping to improve soft skills (including communication, self-confidence and teamwork) and raise social awareness of the target groups through football activities/events incorporating life skills;
  • promoting volunteerism and the development of leadership skills among young people in the community.

Project Content

Activities will be concentrated in specific areas of Thua Thien Hue Province: A Luoi District and Nam Dong District, resettlement areas and social centres. They will include the following:

Football training for coaches and referees at new clubs, plus life skills courses

  • Youth leadership programme
  • Volunteer training for members of local communities, including parents
  • Three ‘fun football festivals’ with a focus on integrating young girls from ethnic minorities, children from resettlement areas and children with disabilities
  • Study tour monitoring the needs and results of the project

Expected Results

Grassroots football will be introduced in seven new resettlement areas and maintained in four others. We expect the creation of football clubs to encourage children to stay in school, improving their level of education. Making friends in the community will lead to further social inclusion, while increased self-confidence will result in better communication skills. Children will learn life skills through club activities, which will reduce addiction and early pregnancies.
At least 2,000 disadvantaged children – including ethnic minority girls in two mountainous districts, orphans and children with disabilities in 14 social centres, and children in resettlement areas – will be included in FFAV’s football and life skills project as a matter of priority.
All children participating in the project will be taught about gender equality, social inclusion, children’s rights and other social problems associated with their community.

At least 500 adolescent girls – especially those from ethnic minorities – will be taught about reproductive health, financial management, health and hygiene, and communication.

We expect that participation in football activities at the various new clubs will result in more young girls becoming physically active. We hope to have equal numbers of girls and boys playing, which should help to gradually break down gender norms.

In addition, 13 existing football clubs in social centres and resettlement areas are to receive assistance, being given both operational and financial support.

Allowing children with disabilities to participate in football activities will help to improve social inclusion by fostering interaction with a wide range of different people. We want to increase awareness and understanding of the issues faced by children with disabilities, enable them to play and interact with other children, increase their self-confidence, improve their communication skills and encourage other children to play with them. Overall, this project aims to break down negative prejudices about children with disabilities, using football to show the contribution that they can make to society.



Location and general information


PluSport is the umbrella organisation for disabled sport in Switzerland. For almost 60 years, it has been promoting the integration of disabled people through sport. The UEFA Foundation for Children is supporting PluSport’s Goal Plus – Play Football project, the main aim of which is to use football and the passion it creates to enable all disabled children, including those who use wheelchairs, to play football. Enabling disabled children to play football gets them active, helps them to have fun and develops team spirit – all of which are essential to their integration.

PluSport uses football to promote disability sport among its 12,000 amateur members through 90 regional clubs, offering a variety of sports disciplines and organising about 100 camps.

Project content

Focus on subproject Play Football
PluSport attaches great importance to the promotion of football and ball sports in general as integration tools. Virtually all children and teenagers would like to be able to play football; it gets them active, helps them to have fun and develops team spirit – all essential qualities that help disabled children to progress in their daily lives. With the 2018 FIFA World Cup just around the corner, we expect more disabled children and teenagers to show an interest in playing football.

Through the Play Football subproject, PluSport is aiming to develop and broaden the use of football as a tool for integrating and promoting the next generation. All children need to be able to enjoy playing football, make friends and socialise. Our football-related activities are constantly growing. Thanks to initiatives and requests from partners and institutions, we have been able to offer disabled children and teenagers new opportunities to play football, in addition to the tournaments that we already organise.

Our objectives could be achieved and the corresponding activities carried out this year. At present, it is a matter of continuing with the project in a sustainable way while developing it at the same time.

Action plan:

  • Integration of individual children and teenagers, or a whole group, into PluSport clubs or regional associations of the Swiss Football Association.
  • Continued creation and support of PluSport football groups throughout Switzerland.
  • These teams train regularly (weekly), with supervision and coaching by PluSport.
  • A series of regular tournaments has been successfully established, with five or six tournaments organised each year. The aim now is to offer more opportunities by adding two or three tournaments per year. These events should be held in different parts of Switzerland.
  • Special final tournament for the winning teams of the individual tournaments held during the season.
  • Football-themed afternoon gatherings for able-bodied and disabled children (schools, vocational schools, churches, associations, institutions).
  • Use of infrastructure for training/matches (halls, pitches, changing rooms, etc.).
  • Coach education and remuneration.
  • Organisation of football camps for children and teenagers.
  • Rewarding of volunteers (coaches, referees, athletes).
  • Sourcing of equipment for training sessions and tournaments (footballs, bibs, etc.).
  • Retention of the Goal Plus project manager.


To use football as a tool for integrating and promoting the next generation. All children need to be able to enjoy playing football, make friends and socialise.
The project comprises the following elements:

  • facilitated access to ball games for disabled children and teenagers
  • Goal Plus is an integral part of the Swiss sports landscape
  • involvement of the various target groups in disabled football
  • creation of new ball sports groups for children and teenagers
  • full, systematic promotion and development of disability sport
  • involvement in the project thanks to partnerships
  • targeted image transfer thanks to social responsibility
  • social integration through sport

Expected impact and results

  • Creation of new football teams
  • Organisation of weekly training sessions with supervision and coaching by PluSport
  • Maintenance and development of regular tournaments (for disabled children and teenagers)
  • A special final tournament for individual tournament winners
  • Football-themed afternoon gatherings
  • Long-term promotion of football by developing it and extending it to everyone


Improving communication and education for autistic children in Europe

Location and general information


The UEFA Foundation for Children has decided to allocate its annual support grant for 2015 to a project designed to improve communication and education for autistic children in Europe. This project, submitted by the International Foundation of Applied Disability Research (FIRAH), has been approved by the Board of trustees of the foundation. Inspired by the innovative approach of the project, the UEFA Foundation for Children has adopted the words of Mahatma Gandhi to use as the slogan for the project:

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

Thus the project to improve the lives of autistic children and their families, and to give them hope for the future.

What we are doing

The FIRAH is working with a number of partners to run this project: representatives of international and national associations for autistic children and their families; educational, social and medical services that come into contact with autistic children every day; and universities and research centres.

The project has three pillars:

  • Facilitating access to the latest educational material and equipment such as robots and tablets, adapted to the specific needs of autistic children and their families.
  • Training families and professionals working with autistic children so that they can help autistic children make use of new technology, with online guides and training available to families and professionals.
  • Developing applied research projects to assess the impact new technology (robots, tablets, etc.) has on the every lives of autistic children in order to improve the equipment and apps available. All such research projects will involve the children, their parents and professionals to deliver concrete results based on the needs and expectations of autistic children and their families.

The project will be implemented chiefly in six European countries in order to keep it relatively local and focused on the real needs of families.

The children, their parents and professionals will be involved in evaluating the results.

Our partners