Love Football! No racism! No violence!
Starting from 2010 Policy Center for Roma and Minorities Foundation has launched the football empowerment program in one of the most marginalized areas of Bucharest – Ferentari neighborhood. The programs aims to reduce the dropout rate among the youth living in improper conditions. Children living in ghetto type communities lack positive examples, inspiring people and constancy in their lives. Sports help many of the children to define a purpose in life as they perceive using their talent as a means to escape from the ghetto. This is very much facilitated by the trainer, who also lives in the same community, and who recommends them to professional football clubs, redefining their paths.
The football empowerment program has a three-folded approach:
- Education through football – stimulate school participation and motivation through a
coherent ongoing football program for Roma and non-Roma children and youth in the vulnerable community of
- Building values through positive role models – focusing on offering alternatives to
the children and youth in the community by creating opportunities for interaction through football with famous
players, celebrities, journalists etc.
- Combatting discrimination and racism – involve children and youth in football events
centered on tackling racism against Roma.
Achievements since 2010…
- A total of 300 children participated weekly in football activities
- 40 children participated in professional football trainings with a Roma trainer from the community
- 4 are children currently playing for professional football clubs
- Discipline is one of the improved qualities among the children attending the football activities
- Improvement of the team-work and fair play skills (from the assessment of the trainer)
- Increased self-esteem and sense of achievement through participating in football competitions
- Better school attendance and performance of the children involved in the program compared to the control group
- FARE Network
- Romanian Football Federation
- District 5 Municipality – Bucharest
- French Embassy in Romania
- Dutch Embassy in Romania
- Roma Initiatives Office – Open Society Foundations
Football for the future
The football empowerment program wishes to continue by:
- Increasing the number of Roma children involved
- Developing a permanent partnership with the Romanian Football Federation
- Initiating a mentoring program involving famous football players and children from the marginalized community of
- Continuing our anti-discrimination, pro-diversity initiatives on a national and European level (Respect
Diversity football Cup for children from marginalized communities)
- Identifying 2 other similar communities around Bucharest and extending the program at a national level.