Inter Campus and UEFA Foundation for Children promote peace in Israel and Palestine
Inter Campus, FC Internazionale Milano’s social programme, seeks to foster social, religious and racial equality worldwide, with a specific focus on children’s rights. It uses football as an educational tool, training local coaches and giving thousands of deprived children opportunities to play the game.
In Israel and Palestine, the main issue concerns violence and the lack of integration between the various ethnic and religious groups. The main aim in this region is to foster integration and promote peace through dialogue and cultural exchange. This project harnesses the power of sport, giving nearly 200 Israeli, Arab-Israeli and Palestinian children the opportunity to come together and play.
Inter Campus works with Ghetton, an organisation which has been supporting Israeli children from Tel-Aviv, Arab-Israeli children from Jerusalem, Palestinian children from the West Bank and refugees from other ethnic backgrounds since 2013. This locally based partner runs training sessions four times a week, using the Inter Campus methodology to achieve important objectives that go far beyond physical exercise – seeking, for example, to maximise children’s spare time, promote integration between the various communities, and teach sporting values such as respect, loyalty and solidarity. Training sessions always target cognitive, social and emotional development, with children learning valuable life skills while playing and having fun.
Children also take part in a number of off-pitch activities, such as recreational visits to cultural sites that they would otherwise not have access to. The sharing of such experiences with children from different backgrounds is key to the promotion of mutual understanding and integration.
Inter Campus provides technical equipment, as well as official Internazionale shirts, which are given to all participants as an important symbol of inclusion. In addition, Inter Campus coaches share their sporting and educational knowledge with local coaches, visiting the region at least once a semester. Theoretical and practical sessions are organised during such visits in order to ensure that activities are conducted in the correct manner the rest of the time.
In June 2016, the six local coaches implementing the project were invited to Italy, where they spent an intensive week working with Italian children, together with other Inter Campus coaches from Mexico and Colombia. This was a great opportunity for cultural exchange.
- Promote integration and peace
- Ensure that deprived children have opportunities to play football
- Use football for educational purposes
- Teach respect (for rules, team-mates and coaches)
- Communicate sporting values (loyalty, sacrifice, punctuality and solidarity)
- Provide continuity by organising a consistent activity in an unstable context
- Help children to acquire new trust in people
- Help children to recognise the role of coaches
- Allow participants to develop their own opinions based on real-life experiences
EXPECTED IMPACT AND RESULTS
- Increase the amount of time that children spend playing
- Develop children’s personalities and capture/retain their interest
- Foster integration between the various ethnic groups and give children a fresh perspective on life
- Open children’s minds by allowing them to form their own opinions based on real-life experiences
- Overcome the prejudices that children are forced to live with on account of the views of society and their own families
- Foster spontaneous dialogue between the various communities and promote respectful coexistence