The Universal Language of Sport

Sport is a universal language
Laureus recently hosted an online SportsLab Learning Session, focusing on the Inclusion of Ukrainian Refugees Through Sport and more than 70 participants from all continents attended.
The SportsLab featured speakers from the partners organisations of the EU funded programme “Inclusion of Ukrainian Refugee children Through Sport”. Katerina Salta (ISCA) introduced IURTS project, and the pilots of the programme in schools and sport clubs in Poland and Romania have been presented by Jakub Kalinowski and Piotr Sitkowski (V4Sport, Poland), Natalia Cirimpei and Cristina Vladescu (Terre des Hommes Romania) and Mihai Androhovici (Association Sport for All Suceava, Romania). 

Additionally, Anna Skakowska presented Team Up in Ukraine and all over the world, an initiative created by Save the Children and War Child. Last but not least, Alfonso Cevallos-Zuniga introduced SPRING 2.0, the work of Futbol Mas for the support of Ukrainian refugees across Europe. 
Key takeaways from the session included: 

- Sport is a universal language: An inspiring range of digital and in-person tools has been designed to support refugee children through physical activity while overcoming language barriers.
- Safe spaces: Training staff and volunteers is crucial, in order to ensure we offer a space where children feel safe, for their recovery from the trauma of war and fleeing home 
- Integration in schools: Working with schools and supporting teachers is key to facilitating the integration of refugee children, allow them to continue their education.
- Stronger communities: Sport and physical activity are important tools that we can use to build more inclusive and resilient communities.

“This is not the first initiative of ISCA towards the support of refugee populations. We are committed to this context since 2015. With our latest project, Global IRTS, with a truly global group of partners, our vision is a universal dimension. We are determined to continue our commitment to supporting refugees and children in disadvantaged situations, helping to create a better future for them. We invite everyone interested to join us, since we are confident that through collective work, we can make a difference in the lives of those we have the opportunity to serve,” said Katerina Salta from ISCA.

“What we do with our project is to create many opportunities for all Polish and Ukrainian kids in the classroom to collaborate, to work together while being physically active, having fun and having  common goal. We see the integration process as a two way street. It is not to only about Ukrainian kids learning about Poland but also teaching Polish kids about Ukraine”, said Jakub Kalinowski from V4Sport.

“Team Up sessions follow a structure and routine in order to provide to children with a feeling of predictability, stability and safety they need. They are based in three key principles: same face, same place, same time. They are also based on movement and a non-verbal approach that help us to work with children from many different backgrounds and using different languages and to connect with each other,” said Anna Skakovsa. 

“We challenge the traditional use of the punitive red card and instead we use the green card as a tool to promote positive reinforcement, meaningful bonds and learning through play, with focus on children’s rights, critical thinking, and wellbeing with expression and regulation of emotions”, said Alfonso Cevallos-Zuniga from Futbol Mas.  

Email Sign up

Email Sign-up

Sign up for all things Laureus

Get regular updates throughout the year