Solidarity network for migrants and refugees: a project towards integration through sport
A.S.D. Verga , Italy, – University of Thessaly, Greece; – Euromed Carrefour Sicilia, Italy; – CEZAM Centre for Youth Ruše , Slovenia;
• The need for research and development of strategies that can help smoothing the acculturation process is high.
• Sport participation has long been considered an effective socializing agent, as it is among the few social activities that are globally recognized as a vehicle for bringing people, and in particular youth, together Eitzen & Sage,
• For sport to become an effective acculturation agent , it is important that refugees/migrants get access to and participate in sport along with members of the host community ( Brown et all, 1999). Across Europe, their participation in sport is very limited.
• The purpose of this project was to provide evidence regarding migrants/refugees’ participation in sports, identify the reasons preventing them from participating and develop appropriate strategies and
networks to facilitate their access to sport.
• A survey was conducted in three countries, Italy, Slovenia, and Greece.
• Participants were 324 young migrants and refugees (39.1% females) aged 6 to 18 (Mage = 12.65). Among them 74% were from Asia and 26% from Africa .
• 78,5% did not participate in sport, while 90,2% of them would like to.
• Top sports in their preferences were in total football, swimming, basketball, volleyball, tennis/ karate.
• The reasons for not participating in sports were by large the lack of financial resources (44,81) and the lack of awareness about where they should seek sport participation
• 71% would participate in mixed gender teams.
• 41.3% reported their guardian could not pay any fee for participating in sport club.
• Migrants and refugees would like to participate in sport.
• They mostly need financial facilitation and some mediation to initiate contact and access to sport clubs.
• Initiatives are required to facilitate the efficient placement of migrants/refugees into the available network sport clubs.
• Development of sport clubs network in the 3 countries.
• Provision of over 150 positions free of club fee for young migrants/refugees to participate in sport in three countries.
ACTION REQUIRED / TO FOLLOW
• Extend youth sport clubs network within countries but also across Europe.
• Train youth sport coaches to introducing migrants/refugees into teams and developing skills and actions to exploit sport participation towards the goals of integration.
• Eitzen , D. S., & Sage, G. H. (2003). Sociology of North American sport (7thed.). New York: McGraw Hill.
• Brown, R., Vivian, J. & Hewstone , M. (1999 ). Changing attitudes through intergroup contact: The effects of group membership salience. European Journal of Social Psychology, 29, 741 764