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YDF and UNICEF partner to provide soccer training to refugee and migrant children in Greece

Mis à jour : 4 févr. 2019


NEW YORK/ATHENS (June 18, 2018) – The Youri Djorkaeff Foundation (YDF) and UNICEF are partnering to provide a soccer training camp to refugee and migrant children in Athens this summer.


Greece remains one of the major entry points into Europe for refugees and migrants. According to UNICEF’s latest data, an estimated 22,500 refugee and migrant children are currently in the country, many of whom (3,400) are without the care and protection of a family member or guardian.


This partnership aims to foster social inclusion and pave the way for greater integration between refugees and host communities through sports. Together, YDF and UNICEF want to provide participants with an opportunity to learn about the values sportsmanship such as, cooperation, leadership, and teamwork and at the same time enhance their social and emotional skills. For the thousands of refugee and migrant children who have been uprooted by violence and conflict, soccer offers a chance for them to be kids again, restoring a sense of normalcy in their lives.


“Through our partnership with UNICEF, we want to reach out to vulnerable refugee youths, make them know they matter and help them to rise and dream again,” said Mr. Youri Djorkaeff, YDF President. “We want every child to be able to play and discover the power of football.”


The project will begin in Athens on the 18th of June with more than 160 refugee and migrant children participating in daily training sessions in two urban locations. The trainings will be managed by UNICEF’s implementing partner Organization Earth, a local Greek NGO, along with UNICEF and YDF coordinators on the ground.


“A child uprooted may be called a refugee or migrant, but first and foremost, a child is a child, and play – in all of its forms – is the right of every child,” said Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO, UNICEF USA. “We are incredibly excited to partner with The Youri Djorkaeff Foundation and Organization Earth to give children in Greece the opportunity to feel included in a community through sport, and have a safe space to play, learn and be a kid again.”


Partnership highlights include daily training sessions for girls and boys between twelve and seventeen years old, as well as a series of educational and recreational activities each Friday throughout the duration of the project.


“UNICEF values immensely the role of sports in children’s development as it provides them with the opportunity to build a positive self-esteem, improve their physical and emotional health, strengthen their skills and build bridges among each other,” said Lucio Melandri, Country Coordinator for UNICEF’s Refugee and Migrant Response in Greece. “The Youri Djorkaeff Foundation has a proven record of promoting the values of teamwork, collaboration, and mutual respect one another and we look forward to working with them and our implementing partner, Organization Earth, in providing refugee and migrant children in Greece with a quality sports education project.”


YDF and UNICEF aim to expand their collaboration, giving the opportunity to refugee and migrant children in refugee camps and in other urban locations in the country to become part of a wider soccer movement.

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