Health and social integration through sport in Ireland

Location and general information



The John Giles Foundation aims to promote sporting activities and a healthy lifestyle among children in disadvantaged communities across Ireland. There is a special focus on football, which is used to tackle obesity and social exclusion. The foundation helps to strengthen club structures and local entities in order to foster the integration of vulnerable sections of the population and bring about positive social change. It also supports various programmes at national level. The UEFA Foundation for Children shares the John Giles Foundation’s vision, so it is keen to provide financial backing for the foundation’s current activities and help it to support more programmes in the future.

Project content

“Make opportunities a right – not a privilege.” John Giles

With this motto, the John Giles Foundation focuses on the individual in his/her own environment. The foundation uses football to create a better quality of life, greater self-esteem and increased opportunities. Many small, rural communities cannot afford the basic facilities required to cater for children who want to participate in football or other sporting activities, as funding is very limited. Assistance with the development of appropriate infrastructure in those communities would give thousands of children the opportunity to play football or other sports.

Testimony to the positive impact of the programme

“The foundation’s support helped us to improve our facilities and thereby increase participation in girls’ football in a remote rural area in the west of Ireland. As a result, we now have three girls’ teams where there were none previously.” Richie Flannery, Kilmore Girls FC

Healthy Kids’ programme


The John Giles Foundation is helping communities through its ‘Heathy Kids’ programme, which involves a local team working with communities to increase awareness of how important healthy living is for children. That initiative is based on three elements:

  • education regarding nutrition, a balanced diet and the importance of regular physical activity;
  • the provision of an outlet for that physical activity;
  • support for the local team and the community to keep the programme going.

The power of football is effectively used to build community cohesion, promote health, and encourage lifelong participation and learning in this programme.

Expected impact and results

  • Improved infrastructure in order to increase access to sport in remote rural areas
  • More children playing football or other sports, including girls and children from disadvantaged communities
  • Trained, qualified coaches in both rural and urban areas
  • Greater awareness of the growing obesity issue in Ireland and the provision of solutions through sport, nutritional guidance and the promotion of healthy lifestyles
  • Tangible positive impact on children’s health and social integration, and an increase in lifelong participation and learning


John Giles Foundation:



Improvement of living conditions of street children in Luanda

Location and general information


Samusocial International in Angola helps promote an inclusive society by reinforcing actions and partnerships between civil society organisations and local authorities involved in caring for the most excluded children and adolescents.

Samusocial International has been present in Angola since 2010 and works with street children in partnership with the Angolan Association CACAJ (Arnold Janssen Children’s Centre). Since Samusocial International started its work there, over 300 street children have received specific medico-psychosocial support.



According to UNICEF, 5,000 children live on the streets of Luanda 

The programme acts at three different levels:

  • Improving access to basic services and quality of care provided to street children in Luanda, by assisting the Arnold Janssen Centre with technical means;
  • Strengthening cooperation and networking between non-governmental actors and public institutions/local authorities involved in care and support to street children;
  • Promoting street children’s rights by raising awareness of the living conditions of street children, spreading information and experiences between all entities involved in children’s care.

Samusocial International’s activities

To ensure that access to basic social services are improved for street children in Luanda, the following actions are envisaged:

  • Medico-psychosocial support to vulnerable children by the mobile outreach team and by the Arnold Janssen Centre;
  • Strengthening of Arnold Janssen Centre management with logistical, human resources and financial support;
  • Supporting of the family reinsertion process in partnership with relevant local and national institutions.

Cooperation between professionals from different social entities for street children with local authorities will be strengthened through the following activities:

  • Organising ongoing training sessions for the Arnold Janssen Centre teams;
  • Organising ongoing training sessions for partner teams;
  • Facilitating the exchange of best practices and cooperation between shelter facilities working with street children in Luanda and with local authorities. Organising and developing a network of state and non-state actors working in the social and family reintegration of children and young people.

Information and documentation about the status and rights of vulnerable children will be made available to public and civil society child protection actors through the following activities:

  • Ensuring continual updating of documentation and data about street children;
  • Developing technical guidance documents for the network professionals and organising information and knowledge sharing;
  • Developing advocacy tools for the rights of the most excluded children.

Expected results

Access to basic social services are improved for street children in Luanda through improved technical capacities and means of the Arnold Janssen Centre:

  • 400 street children benefit from medico-psychosocial support support during the two years of the project;
  • 800 children a year receive individual care and social support;
  • 20 street chidren benefit from family tracing each year;
  • 120 children living at the Arnold Janssen Centre participate in educational, vocational and leisure activities.

Sharing and cooperation between professionals from different social facilities for street children along with local authorities will be implemented through training and experience-sharing sessions:

  • 30 professional staff from the Arnold Janssen Centre and partners participate in training sessions, professional exchanges and networking.

Information and documentation about the status and rights of vulnerable children will be made available to public and civil society child protection actors:

  • 40 professionals, decision-makers and public/private stakeholders working with steet children and/or vulnerable children get access to documentation about the situation of street children ad receive technical documentation and guidelines produced during the project;
  • They participate in advocacy events involving street children organised at least once a year in Luanda.


Samu Social International

Samu Social International – Facebook

Centro de Acolhimento de Crianças


logo_cacaj   SamusocialInternational-logo

Play for Positive Change

Location and general information


Prabhat Shanti Secondary School

There are four main problems connected to access to sport in school in Nepal, which result in decreased participation, namely: lack of facilities, lack of knowledge, lack of equipment and lack of structure.

The Play for Change (PFC) and Global Action Nepal (GAN) are jointly working and implementing a programme called “Khelaun Khelaun” meaning play for positive change in nepalese.

The programme is providing opportunties to access sport activities and coaching training for some of the country’s most disadvantaged young people, especially women and girls. This will then enable the community to coordinate and run the programme on a long term basis. There will also be a mentoring scheme offered to the children and young people which will help develop their soft skills, with an emphasis placed upon encouraging female participation. 40 schools will participate in the programme benefitting 3000 children.
Futhermore, this programme is a valuable addition and a way of helping children to deal with mental health issues following the two recent devastating earthquakes.

Play for positive change

Khelaun Khelaun

In the first stage of development in 2016, we aim to create a culture of inclusive sports education for the children, to provide sporting equipment for all participating schools and provide coaching qualifications for up to 35 local young people, female and male.

In addition, a PFC league is being organised across the Lamjung district, with the finals being scheduled for May/June 2016.

The PFC and GAN share the same passion for football and believe that this project will offer a great platform for providing life-changing opportunities to disadvantaged children and their communities. This project will encourage members of the local communities to be directly involved. Project leaders, coaches and teachers will be recruited locally. Disadvantaged sectors of the community will be encouraged to apply for these roles.

Aims and expected results

The main aims of Khelaun Khelaun is to:

  • increase the participation of disadvantaged children in sports, especially girls;
  • establish sporting activities and local leagues for 40 schools in the district of Besisahar;
  • economic empowerment of the local communities, who will run and continue the programme;
  • develop training for coaches and teachers in local communities;
  • improve health and wellbeing, by promoting better physical and mental health through sport
  • brighter future perspectives for children, thanks to the learning of new skills.

Expected results of the project:

  • healthier and happier children who have regular access to recreational activiti, and to sport in particular.
  • more girls involved in sports activities
  • brighter future prospects for children, thanks to the learning of new skills
  • economic empowerment of the local communities who will run and maintain the community centres



final_logo_web logo GAN

Multimedia library for children in Ziguinchor

Location and general information


The UEFA Foundation for Children will contribute towards the cost of an Ideas Box portable multimedia library and thereby allow the Franco-Senegalese association Future au Présent (FAP), which works with streetchildren in Zigninchor, to do more for the education of these children who do not go to school. The project will help 7,500 children, with a special emphasis on books for girls.

35% of under-15s work

Casamance is an area in the south of Senegal. It is one of the poorest parts of the country and, moreover, has been a zone of conflict between separatists and the Senegalese government since the 1980s. The instability of the region, the lack of infrastructure and the extreme poverty cause people to migrate to the main town of Ziguinchor.
Children are the first to suffer from this impoverishment. They stay away from school and end up working. Some, whose families have broken up, find themselves living on the streets. Girls are especially vulneable because they often work as servants, which can result in them being abused in the worst possible way.

Ideas Box – a way to reach out to marginalised children

Libraries without Borders have created the Ideas Box, a portable multimedia kit that sits on two pallets and provides an area of 100m2 with an internet or 4G connection, computers, tablets, books and a cinema. It can be assembled in less than 20 minutes.

Atelier musique

Aims and expected results

Project aim:

  • To improve the integration and access to education of streetchildren and child workers in the Ziguinchor area of Senegal;
  • To strengthen family ties and ties between the family and the school system.

Target groups and beneficiaries:

  • streetchildren
  • at-risk children and child workers
  • vulnerable families and local schools

Expected results of the project:

  • independence and social integration of children, girls in particular
  • improved education thanks to access to books, reduction in illiteracy among children and young people, stronger resilience thanks to psychosocial support
  • strengthening of family ties
  • creation of ties between families and the school system

Our partners




Football in the Za’atari refugee camp

Location and general information

Refugee camp

The structure of the Za’atari camp and how it is run.
The structure of the Za’atari camp and how it is run.


The Asian Football Development Project (AFDP) and the UEFA Foundation for Children are helping people displaced by the conflict in Syria, particularly children and young people living in the Zaatari refugee camp.

Project content

Organising tournaments


The UEFA Foundation for Children organises football tournaments and other sports events. In particular, it has set up a football league inside the camp. To do so, it set up teams organised into ‘clubs’ and offers them regular training sessions. The camp’s trained coaches oversee all these activities. In addition to playing and spending time together, the youngsters also learn football skills and assimilate fundamental values of sport such as respect, fair play, team spirit and solidarity.

Training local coaches


The UEFA Foundation for Children trains and certifies local coaches – Syrians and Jordanians between 20 and 40 years of age. Most of them already work for other organisations inside the camp and are already involved in sporting, educational or recreational activities. Offering them specific training allows them to develop their skills and will improve their employability, not only inside the camps but also once the Syrian crisis is over, thereby ensuring the continuity of the project. It also ensures proper supervision of the children taking part in the programme and provides them with role models.

Providing equipment and infrastructure


The UEFA Foundation for Children supports organisations that are already active inside the camp by providing equipment for sports activities and training. That equipment is mostly balls, kit and shoes, as well as whistles, stopwatches, cones and technical manuals for the coaches. During tournaments, all the young participants receive water, snacks and a souvenir.

Good infrastructure is also needed so that sport can be played in a suitable and safe environment. The foundation is doing up all the existing facilities. Zaatari already had a dozen football pitches for the children to play on, but they were not always in a fit state and the activities they were used for were badly organised and rarely included girls.

Integrating through sport


The UEFA Foundation for Children has created a specific programme for the refugees based on their needs. The programme is tailored to the Zaatari context and aims to do more for the young people than just giving them the opportunity to play sport. To that end, the coaches receive specific training that allows them to use the benefits of sport to support the young people in everyday life. This training uses a fun and educational approach to address social issues and to focus, in particular, on conflict resolution and raising awareness of early marriages, birth control, the importance of school, health, hygiene and well-being.


  • Engage children and young Syrians (girls and boys) by organising football and other sports activities in an appropriate, safe and supervised environment where they can remain children and have some fun. In addition to playing and spending time together, the youngsters also learn football skills and assimilate fundamental values of sport such as respect, fair play, team spirit and solidarity, and are also educated on specific social issues.
  • Train Syrian football coaches and referees, teaching them how to run football coaching sessions but give them also the skills to organise a league and run football clubs. Specific classes focus on refereeing.
  • Integrate a specific life-skills curriculum based on the context and needs. The coaches learn how to best use the values of sport to encourage the children’s personal development and raise their awareness of certain social issues. The curriculum uses a fun and educational approach to address social issues and to focus, in particular, on conflict resolution and raising awareness of early marriages, birth control, the importance of school, health, hygiene and well-being.
  • Establish football clubs and a league in the camp. Once implemented, the trained Syrian coaches and referees will be able to run the clubs and the league by themselves.
  • Provide equipment and infrastructure. Building of a sports centre inside the camp and upgrading of the football pitch into artificial turf providing a reliable infrastructure and safe zone for the children to play. The UEFA Foundation for Children also supports agencies that are already active inside the camp by providing equipment for sports activities and training.


Infrastructure and training material

The UEFA Foundation for Children, in cooperation with the AFDP, has contributed to the construction of a sports centre. Known as the House of Sport, it is a place for social activities, a safe environment where children and young people can have fun and make friends, and somewhere for those who are interested in football.

  • Since the beginning of the project, 20,000 footballs, 10,000 T-shirts, caps and backpacks, 5,000 shoes and 1,000 training kits (cones, plates, bibs, stopwatches, whistles, etc.) have been distributed for the sports activities.
  • At each tournament 1,000 snacks and 2,000 bottles of water are distributed.
  • The coaches have also been fully equipped.
  • The two main pitches used for tournaments have been fully equipped for football matches.
  • Ten containers of various material (sportswear, balls, etc.) have been provided by the UEFA foundation.

Football pitch

Pursuing the aim of providing a safe environment for the beneficiaries of the project, the UEFA Foundation for Children, in cooperation with the AFDP and the Jordanian Football Association, has contributed to the conversion of a full-size football pitch to artificial turf with the support of the donor LAY’S.

  • The work on-site to upgrade the pitch took two months.
  • Two containers filled with artificial turf, construction material such as geotextile, adhesive, tape, maintenance equipment (including a tractor), and pitch equipment such as goals and corner flags were sent from the Netherlands.
  • An unofficial opening ceremony took place on 29 May 2017, giving the youngsters the opportunity to start using the pitch.

Figures (July 2017)

  • 250 adult refugees – including 87 women and 163 men – had already benefitted from the coach education offered by the foundation, giving them the necessary skills to become good coaches and therefore to supervise and organise sport and football activities – weekly training, tournaments and other events; 46 are currently working for the project and the others for the other NGOs that are active in the camp.
  • Experts enlisted by the UEFA Foundation for Children and the AFDP ran workshops on refereeing, trauma recovery, sport as a tool for social cohesion, early marriages and conflict resolution. 54 referees were trained, including 21 women.
  • Currently, 4,480 children and young people – 3,185 boys and 1,295 girls aged between 8 and 20 – regularly take part in the weekly sports activities and monthly football tournaments supervised by the qualified educators, both male and female.
  • Monthly football tournaments are organised in the camp. In all, 30 girls’ teams (U13, U15 and U20) and 60 boys’ teams (U13, U15 and U24) have been created – with an average of 20 players per team.
  • Since the project began, 40 tournaments have organised, amounting to 3,400 football matches.
  • An average of 1,000 children and young people from 8 to 20 years of age, including 300 girls, take part in the monthly tournaments.
  • Apart from football, other sports and activities are organised. 450 boys regularly do judo and 300 girls take Zumba classes.

Expected results

  • An average of 5,000 children and young people – boys and girls aged between 8 and 20 – regularly take part in the weekly sports activities and monthly football tournaments supervised by the qualified educators, both male and female.
  • Monthly football tournaments are continually organised in the camp, with an average of 1,000 children and young people aged between 8 to 20, including 300 girls, participating.




Ayah, 14 years old


Our partners

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