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Football provides new prospects for Estonian children

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For the second year in a row, the NGO SPIN has received a UEFA Foundation for Children Award on a recommendation from the Estonian Football Association. During a trip to Tallinn, we received a warm welcome from the CEO of SPIN, Keit Fomotškin. “It means a lot to us to receive a UEFA Foundation for Children Award,” he said. “Recognition from outside Estonia is very important for our team of coaches who work with the kids every day. The award will enable us to expand our programme and involve more participants.” The youngsters who attend the SPIN-programme come from difficult social backgrounds and have been identified in collaboration with social workers, local authorities and schools. SPIN believes in the potential of every child to become a good citizen. By playing football in a safe and motivating environment, youngsters learn the positive values of team sport that can be replicated in…

DAYSI’S STORY

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Sport is one of the things that Daysi loves. Two years ago, a 13-year-old girl named Daysi joined the School of Integration, Sports Training, Artistic Expression and Professional Development (EIFODEC) in Cochabamba, Bolivia. At that time, she had basic motor skills and did not have the opportunity to do sport and develop her physical abilities. Since attending the EIFODEC, Daysi has improved her motor skills and has gained confidence through playing team sports such as football, which is her favourite. Football has had a significant impact on the development of Daysi’s self-esteem, personal safety, cooperation and teamwork. At the age of five, Daysi was rescued from her home because she was exposed to constant sexual abuse by her stepfather and was neglected by her biological mother. Since then she has been living in a foster home with a system of surrogate families. She has found support and love from her…

Eagles book their place at the 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships

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The members of the Solidarité Aveugle (Blind Solidarity) project have been rewarded for their perseverance. The Eagles will fly to Spain to represent Mali at the 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships. Visually impaired footballers from all parts of Africa donned their blindfolds and battled it out at the recently held IBSA Blind Football African Championships. Among them were the Eagles of Mali, all members of the Solidarité Aveugle (Blind Solidarity) project run by the French Libre Vue association, who set the tone with a 12-0 victory over Cape Verde in their opening match. “We went with the aim of bringing the cup home and qualifying for the 2018 World Championships,” said Mali forward Bandiougou Traoré. Efforts rewarded Qualifying is one thing, but the opportunity to play is another. The Mali team’s participation in the second edition of the IBSA Blind Football African Championships in Cape Verde was no foregone…

Access cards help to promote integration and respect in Cañada Real

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(Part 3) The boys and girls of Cañada Real  recently been given access cards for the local sports facilities as part of Red Deporte’s sports programme in the area. This initiative has three main objectives. The first and most important is to encourage the children to identify with those facilities and that sports programme, which aims to improve social and educational integration through sporting activities. The second objective is to improve the organisation of sports activities, avoiding situations where children of very different ages are playing in the same team. During one particular match at a recent football tournament organised by Red Deporte for 13 and 14-year-olds, a significantly older player took to the field late in the game, having a decisive impact on a hitherto evenly balanced match. At that age, two years can make a big difference in terms of height and weight, so teams with an older…

Football3 in Cañada

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(Part 2) Football3 is perfectly suited to the reality of life on the ground in Cañada, where much remains to be done in terms of real coexistence between communities. “No way am I playing with the Moros,” is Cristian’s response when he is invited to train with the young Moroccans. “Play with the gypsies? No chance,” says Ayub when asked the same question in reverse. Red Deporte is convinced that Football3 for Respect will help to break down invisible prejudices and barriers in Cañada. Part of its strategy in this regard will involve establishing a joint team combining both communities and sending them off to play in tournaments outside Cañada. And that team will, in turn, host matches against various teams from elsewhere in the Madrid region and the rest of Spain. Football has the potential to foster social cohesion in this particular area and improve its bad reputation, which…

Football challenging intercultural sharing

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(Part 1) From Cañada Real – a shanty town on the outskirts of Madrid. For Adrian, a 17-year-old Romani who lives in Cañada and is a big fan of Sergio Ramos, and Mohammed, a 16‑year-old Moroccan who dreams of one day seeing Messi play, the recent ‘Moros v Gitanos’ tournament was Cañada Real’s equivalent of Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona. Last February, Red Deporte organised a special Under-15 tournament for boys from the two largest communities living in Cañada: Moroccans and Roma – ‘Moros v Gitanos’, as the locals dubbed it. For the hundreds of boys and girls who came to cheer the teams on, the result mattered a lot, with both communities keen to prove their superiority. However, despite the divisions between the two groups, there was mutual respect and a good atmosphere throughout, with all tension relating purely to the football. Through this tournament, Red Deporte sought…

UEFA Foundation for Children provides funds to Play for Change programme in Nepal

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Programme designed to bring positive changes in children’s lives At its last board meeting in November, the UEFA Foundation for Children decided to provide funds to Play for Change, to help the organisation in its delivery of a sport and education programme in Besisahar – a municipality in Nepal that was affected by two earthquakes in April and May 2015. The programme, known as Khelaun Khelaun (‘let’s play’ in Nepali), is designed to use sport as a vehicle to improve children’s health and well-being, increase girls’ participation in sport and create local employment, thereby developing long-term opportunities and access to sport. The programme will be based in and around Besisahar, which is located in the Lamjung district of Nepal. Current access to sport is poor, especially as Lamjung and its sports facilities were were damaged by the two earthquakes last year. The participation of women and girls in sport presents…