The policy roundtable was set up to discuss the integration of sports into broader social inclusion policies. The event brought together policymakers, sports organisations, and community representatives to explore how sports can be leveraged more effectively as a tool for social change, culminating in actionable recommendations.

In April 2023, players from 1. FC Köln’s women’s team and four young refugee women from the Scoring Girls project dazzled a record-breaking crowd of 38,365 spectators. This remarkable event highlighted the power of sport to unite and inspire.

Founded by Kurdish refugee Tuğba Tekkal, the Scoring Girls project goes beyond football training. It combines athletic development with academic support and career guidance, offering a holistic approach to empowerment. By engaging strong female role models, Scoring Girls instills confidence and belief in the participants’ own capabilities.

The project’s reach is impressive. With over 150 girls from more than 15 countries participating in Berlin and Cologne alone, Scoring Girls expanded into Iraq in 2021. This initiative provides a supportive community for girls and young women, helping them overcome the trauma of displacement and war.

Scoring Girls ensures that any girl or young woman can join and find a sense of belonging and empowerment, proving that the impact of sport extends far beyond the field.

Source: Women’s football: Tuğba Tekkal’s Scoring Girls* integration project (deutschland.de)

The launch of the Monaliiku-Inspires football team marked a significant milestone. This team, comprising women from various backgrounds, stood as a powerful symbol of unity, strength, and the transformative power of sports. Their journey, filled with training sessions, community events, and matches, inspired many and highlighted the project’s impact on individual lives and communities.

Yoga and Sport with Refugees (YSR) provides a safe and welcoming environment for refugees, especially women, to engage in sports and build community amidst the challenging conditions on Lesbos.

The infamous Moria camp, notorious for its deplorable conditions and rampant insecurity, symbolized the dire situation faced by refugees. Although efforts have been made to improve conditions, the new temporary facility in Mavrovouni, Lesbos, still faces significant challenges. Access to essential resources remains limited, exacerbating mental health issues among residents.

YSR aims to foster a sense of community, resilience, and integration through sports activities in refugee camps on Lesbos. Offering a variety of activities, from cardio and bodybuilding to parkour and acro yoga, YSR provides a safe space for refugees. In 2022 alone, YSR’s gyms saw over 40,000 visits, highlighting the positive impact of these initiatives.

Central to YSR’s success is its diverse team of coaches, many of whom are refugees themselves. Research underscores the importance of coaches sharing similar life experiences with participants, as this connection not only facilitates physical engagement but also provides mentorship and understanding of the refugees’ journeys and struggles.

Through its comprehensive approach, YSR continues to empower refugees, offering not just physical activity, but also a sense of belonging and hope in a challenging environment.

Source: Yoga and Sport with Refugees in Lesvos – BORGEN (borgenmagazine.com)

The Respect Pride Tournament was a celebration of diversity, inclusion, and sportsmanship. Teams from various backgrounds competed, but the highlight was the Monaliiku-Inspires team, which not only showcased exceptional skill but also embodied the spirit of respect and unity. This tournament served as a vibrant tool for inclusivity.