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Sport and refugees case study: Comité Olímpico de Portugal

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Sport and refugees case study: Comité Olímpico de Portugal

The "Live Sport - Embrace the Future" project aims to promote social inclusion and provide opportunities for refugees in Portugal.

Briefly describe your project's goals and how it uses sport to address them.

By the beginning of 2016, thanks to the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity Special Funds, the NOC of Portugal had the possibility to implement the programme "Viver o Desporto – Abraçar o Futuro” (Live Sport - Embrace the Future) looking forward to a better future for the refugees in Portugal, using sport as an important instrument of cohesion and social inclusion. Our goals are:

  1. Promote the cohesion and social inclusion of refugees through sport 
  2. Empowering girls and women by creating social change through sport 
  3. Give opportunities for sport career 
  4. Strengthen advocacy and raising awareness around sport and HEPA
Describe any successes, challenges or results from the project.

Until now we have engaged 1,005 refugees in sport activities, offering sports equipment and access to sports programmes. We identified the kids with special sport skills and integrated them in the formal sport system. One of them currently integrates the Preparation Program to the Olympics Tokyo 2020. “Viver o Desporto – Abraçar o Futuro” remains a project with national and international recognition. The execution of this programme have equally highlighted significant improvement of the refugees’ Portuguese language learning process, demonstrating to be one of the most important tools to enrich social inclusion. A similar outcome has been also observed in women’s involvement, demonstrating an increase in their social and sport activity participation.

What advice would you share with others wanting to use sport to work with refugees? 

Sport has a magical impact on people! As a matter of fact, it is a natural human activity that has the capacity to involve all of us. The programmes must welcome refugees wishing sport to become part of their life. The key must be their integration into existing sport activities and teams, avoiding the creation of teams/activities exclusive to refugees. We must work on values such as: respect (individual, collective and for the world), friendship (founding the strongest links to build a better and more peaceful world) and excellence (giving our best in the game and in life). Playing together we will build a better world!


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Maria Machado


Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 15:38

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