Tuesday 20 June 2023, 16:30

FIFA Foundation strengthens its support to refugees across the world

  • Showcasing the work of three refugee-focused NGOs supported by the FIFA Foundation

  • The organisations receive funding from the FIFA Foundation as part of its Community Programme

  • World Refugee Day shines a light on the rights, needs and dreams of refugees

Each year on 20 June, the global community acknowledges World Refugee Day to recognise people who have been forced to flee their homelands – in search of safety and security elsewhere. In accordance with FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s Vision 2020-23 and FIFA’s flagship campaign Football Unites the World, FIFA Foundation has boosted the use of football for a positive social impact, amongst other things, by strengthening its support to displaced people worldwide. Among other actions, the FIFA Foundation supports local projects that use the power of football to effect positive social change and address the most pressing global challenges facing underprivileged children and young people around the world. Via its Community Programme, it engages non-profits in a variety of initiatives that contribute to the sustainable development goals, including good health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality, supporting impoverished communities, reduced inequalities, peace, justice and strong institutions – as well as the promotion of decent work and economic growth.

A number of projects supported by the FIFA Foundation focus particularly on improving the lives of displaced people worldwide, empowering them to restart their lives and contribute to the hosting communities. On occasion of the World Refugee Day, we highlight three of the many organisations that have benefited from the FIFA Foundation Community Programme and whose core activities focus on refugees:

Soccer Without Borders (Uganda)

Refugees in Uganda face the challenge of cultural discrimination and young refugees in particular face the added challenge of not speaking English and not being able to enter the formal education system. Soccer Without Borders has developed a successful model for integrating young refugees into host communities using the power of football, delivering sports-based education at its community centre in the low-income area of Kampala. The support provided by the FIFA Foundation enables to equips 300 girls and boys with life skills needed to thrive in their new country, by joining classes and football training. These activities are built on further with holiday camps, gender equality activities and the Uganda Youth Festival.

Soccer Without Borders

Reclaim Childhood (Jordan)

The project supported by the FIFA Foundation creates safe and inclusive spaces for refugee and local girls in Jordan to thrive by playing football, working with coaches, and building community. With a need for after-school programmes in the refugee communities of Amman and Mafraq, Reclaim Childhood run football leagues in both cities for refugee and host community girls. The leagues run for 12 weeks and aim to empower and inspire girls by employing the positive impact of sport to build life skills. This is done through games, skill development and socioeconomic learning throughout the 12 weeks. By including local girls in the leagues, the programme connects diverse communities that otherwise may not interact together, with the activities led by local and refugee women who act as mentors and role models for participants.

Reclaim Childhood

Lighthouse Relief (Greece)

Ever since the escalation of conflict in Syria displaced unprecedented numbers of people, with over 500,000 arriving in Greece, Lighthouse Relief has provided opportunities for refugee and asylum seeker children growing up in Greece to socialise, learn new skills and become more resilient. Through support from the FIFA Foundation, Lighthouse Relief use football to provide mental health and psychosocial support to improve the health of young people and help them build brighter futures. The project supported by the FIFA Foundation benefits displaced people aged 5-25 from Attika: including people from Ritsona Refugee Camp, those living in supported housing and those experiencing homelessness. Creating a fun and safe environment, the project sees specialist football coaches use activities ingrained with life skills such as encouraging teamwork, respect for others (including across genders and cultures) and integration.

Lighthouse relief

The FIFA Foundation supports 114 organisations worldwide in 2023 via its Community Programme. In 2022, the projects supported via the FIFA Foundation reached over a quarter million beneficiaries.