Barcelona FC has been sponsoring a football camp for the last two years for hundreds of refugee children on the island of Lesvos, recruiting adult refugees to serve as coaches.
Hundreds of children have become members of the “Barca Soccer FutbolNet” program since its inception in July of 2017. The project is also funded with the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the non-governmental organization called “Movement on the Ground.”
“We know we can influence them and help them dream, to show them the future,” stated Jordi Cardoner, vice president of the Barcelona FC and the Barca Foundation.
The children attending the football academy on the island come from the two refugee camp hotspots on the island of Lesvos. The training lasts two hours, and is held three times a week. Their coaches are refugees themselves who have already been granted asylum.
“These children are unaccompanied minors. They are here without their parents, and do not have someone to tell them the what is right and what is wrong,” said Aesa Osso, who is a coach from Syria. “Through this programme they learn many values, like respect and team work,” he added.
A fifteen-year-old girl added, “They said football is only for boys, not for girls – but now there is no difference: We are equal.”