A wide range of organizations across our society working in the service sector present a space to reflect on sports for refugees, a working day aligned with the International Day of Coexistence in Peace.
Attention to sports activities as mediums for the health and well-being as well as inclusion of people displaced from their homelands has grown in response to the politics and practices of social justice action. Our community has witnessed an important investment in sports programs for refugee communities and those seeking asylum as methods to improve their health and well-being.
For these reasons, a wide range of organizations across our society working in the service sector such as Refugees Welcome, ACNUR, Barça Foundation, the Observatory of the Public Right IDP and the University of Barcelona present a space to reflect on sports for refugees, a working day aligned with the International Day of Coexistence in Peace. This event is a part of Refugees Welcome’s Week of Coexistence for 2023, where we’ll show the possibilities of sport and physical activities as mediums to promote the health and well-being of displaced persons, asylum seekers and migrants.
Refugees Welcome as an organization aims to promote a “culture of welcoming” in favor of inclusion, the eradication of prejudice and equal access to housing. Through our platform we provide access to living spaces for displaced people who are seeking a better future in our cities, specifically through at least six months of housing in horizontal conditions and mutual respect. People who have an available room in their home have to register on our website.
On the other hand, when a person seeking asylum in Spain is granted the right to a proceeding for international protection, they are placed into a program of shelter, where they have limited contact with local people during their first few months. Once this phase is through, despite having funds available for the cost of housing, displaced people have considerable issues finding a living space in a housing market as complicated as that of Spain’s cities. Other factors they face include the racism of the housing market, the rise of housing costs, and the difficulty of access to the job market.
It’s in this second phase that Refugees Welcome comes into play, making an effort to inspire an alternative solution with creativity and solidarity. This phase also includes a volunteer from our organization who serves as an intermediary between housing applicants and housing providers to support the process of coexistence. More specifically, they oversee the making of a six-month contract between the two.
We have spent years promoting the value of coexistence in the face of a problem whose roots are structural and which won’t be solved easily. This year, to continue fulfilling our mission, we believe it’s necessary to place value on the way sports and coexistence can contribute to the creation of a more horizontal society, developing better relations between people that benefit the public good.
It’s necessary to uplift sports as a method for developing social inclusion, serving as a transformative tool in favor of coexistence in peace and the fight for equality. We can see this social transformation in different aspects of coexistence, from the communal to the inside of a living space. A coexistence which emphasizes empathy and that is the result of human interaction, in order to create a better society through different ways of relating to each other.
Translation by Jimmy Recinos and Paula Martínez, members of the PR department Refugees Welcome Catalonia.