In an effort to combine cultural education with physical activity, the project organized a memorable trip to the historic Suomenlinna fortress. Participants, including men, women and children enjoyed guided tours, outdoor activities, and team-building exercises, fostering a sense of community and belonging among diverse groups through the shared experience of exploring cultural heritage.

Continuing the momentum, the second Football Pilot Event by Organisation Earth witnessed a great turnout at a communal football field in Athens. Participants of all ages came together, sharing a love for the sport and a commitment to community engagement. The event highlighted the unifying power of football, bridging cultural gaps and encouraging unity.

On World Refugee Day, Organisation Earth accepted the invitation from FC AEK (Athens-based professional football club with refugee roots) as part of the European program “Welcome Through Football”. Organisation Earth attended the great initiative with their participants from the refugee camp of Elaionas, a number of whom also take part in INSPIRES program. 

More than 70 children from Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, but also Greece showed up at the facilities of FC Academy Phoebus Aeolus in Athens on Monday 20th of June, where they played football, made new friends and enjoyed themselves!

The Welcome Through Football project aims to help refugee children to engage with their host community, 11 professional clubs from 9 European countries joined forces on this project.

These activities are another great example to remind that sport can be an important tool that can bring together all people and help the fight against any kind of barriers. 

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Sport is a means of communication that does not require language. It works on contact cooperation, respect and silent dialogue.

Sport is a useful tool for relating and overcoming barriers, linguistic but also social, cultural, economic, even if there are structural barriers that are difficult to break down.

The various projects in which Gea Cooperative is involved aim to engage women, men, and foreign minors with refugee status, particularly using amateur sports. Access to sport, the cost of practicing it, the bureaucracy that prevents those with complex legal status from practicing, the time it takes to get to know the territory and the sporting realities, the time to play sports, the gender gap, are many obstacles that some people face more than others.

These are some structural obstacles that Gea Cooperative tries to counter by promoting social, cultural and sports activities in informal settings or by networking with grassroots sports realities in the city of Padua to increase opportunities for migrant women and men to play sports.           

Not only on  June 20, a special date, but every day through projects and activities in the area. Gea creates moments of sharing that aim to bring positive messages both in sports and in society.

At the bottom of the article , find some photos of the pilot actions of the Erasmus+ project “INSPIRES. INtegration through SPort and Inclusion for Refugees in Europe On” to promote women’s empowerment, soccer and sports activity for migrant women. Some shots also from the Erasmus+ project “ONSIDE. Amateur soccer free of racism and promoting integration” concluded in 2022, which consisted of a series of training sessions and events to raise awareness and counter racism on soccer fields by promoting social inclusion among athletes of different backgrounds.        

For a Europe that needs to work even harder on welcoming, including, and valuing migration. Funding projects like these creates opportunities and best practices to open reflections on the present and build future paths.

Held at a refugee camp field, the football pilot event, brought together football enthusiasts for a friendly match, emphasising teamwork and sportsmanship.
This event focused on building a sense of community and providing a recreational outlet for all involved.