Together on and off the pitch
Football is much more than a leisure activity to those who attend our weekly football sessions run by the Faros drop-in center. It is a place to come together, regardless of nationality, background, or legal status. Unique things happen when you look closer than the winning score; you see conflict resolution without violence, social empowerment, and the joining together of young refugee youth. The closer we look, the more we see the therapeutic properties of coming together as a team, increased emotional control, and improved mood and self-esteem.
It has become increasingly clear that football can serve as a platform for promoting healthy self-worth and positive attitudes. Those who have suffered from trauma may find opportunities for recovery in community settings giving them the ability to seek help from the team facilitating the activity.
For young people, it is an escape from the realities of everyday life, a chance to have a little fun, but it is so much more than that. It is an opportunity to re-establish networks and make new social connections to find adult mentors, have peer interaction and become part of a community that young people need to survive.
Away from the pitch, the Faros drop-in center supports unaccompanied refugee youths living alone in Athens. When they enter the center, they meet our team of experienced youth workers and professional social workers ready to serve them with food and clothes handouts and help them find their next step for long-term help. But our utmost job is to make these young people feel a little less alone. Football is the start, but it’s only the beginning.