Dream Building with Refugees
The project in brief
International Table Tennis Federation Foundation
- Azraq Refugee Camp, Jordan
- Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan
- FUDELA, Northern Ecuador
- Ping Pong Alkmaar, the Netherlands
The project started between 2018-2019 even though the ITTF has a long-standing involvement in projects with refugees.
Planned to be completed end of 2021, early 2022, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most likely prolonged and depends on the exit strategy we develop.
Through the Dream Building with Refugees programme the ITTF Foundation supports and implements projects with the aim to:
- Provide relief through a regular, fun physical activity of table tennis
- Create a safe space for dialogue and build friendships through a shared activity
- Offer the identity of an athlete, player, and challenge perceptions of refugees
- Build skills in which individuals can see tangible progress and development
- Grow competences by providing access to coach or umpire training, where possible
- Time and space with refugee role models to promote resilience, dignity, hope and dreams
We do this thanks to dedicated project leaders and/or coaches from the communities both in refugee camps and in host countries.
The project in Zaatari Camp, Jordan:
- Offer relief and dignity to youth in the camp through weekly sessions (ongoing since 2018)
- Coach local coaches so the youth have role models from their community (ongoing since 2018)
- Offer equal access to girls and persons with disabilities (where we are now, we hired a female coach before the pandemic)
- Develop links between a Jordanian club and the players and coaches from the camp through monthly sessions in the Mafraq club. (where we are now, we hired a female coach before the pandemic)
The project in Azraq Camp, Jordan:
- Increased access to table tennis for persons with disabilities (PWD) through ongoing sessions and provision of equipment packages (ongoing weekly session since 2019)
- Local actors develop skills and knowledge to deliver inclusive sport programmes (next step)
- Provide para-specific and inclusive competitions and attendance by PWD (next step mid-year 2021)
- Improved attitudes towards and by PWD (by 2022)
- Increased awareness of disability prevalence within refugee communities, highlighted benefits of sport and opportunities, increased visibility of PWD (by 2022)
The project in Northern Ecuador:
The project “Points that tear down barriers” uses table tennis as a vehicle of integration of Venezuelan, Colombian migrant, and refugee youth with the Ecuadorian community who is also living under difficult conditions in the North.
- Improve attitudes towards people from different countries (ongoing since 2019)
- Increase resilience and promote a healthy lifestyle with physical activity on a weekly basis (ongoing since 2019)
- Offer a safe alternative to street life and violence and increase the feeling as part of the community (ongoing since 2019)
The project in Alkmaar, the Netherlands:
- Increase in feeling of belonging and inclusion of participants to the table tennis identity before the racial, ethnic (ongoing since 2019)
- Reduce negative stigma around migrants, refugees, native-born and others and promote camaraderie (ongoing since 2019)
- Promote diversity and inclusion within the management, coaching and decision-making level of the club structure. (next step)
Partnerships and support from governance:
- In our case, we are lucky as we have the support from national associations, often the NOC, local UNHCR offices and partners.
- Specifically, in working with PWD the right network and partner to support with transport and outreach.
- The ITTF governance who is willing to support such initiatives.
Main activities of the Good Practice
The ITTF Foundation is working to promote and ensure access for all refugees, without distinction of any kind, to safe and inclusive sporting facilities and to increase availability and access to organised sports and sport-based initiatives for refugee and hosting communities, actively considering age, gender, ability, and other diversity needs through 5 different projects:
- One project in Zaatari camp where regular sessions are already taking places, three coaches are already active daily. The main participants are boys without disabilities. The focus in the coming months will be to make the sessions accessible to girls and persons with disabilities.
- One project in Azraq which only ran a few months before the lock-down. Here the focus will be to get regulars and to make the sessions accessible to girls and persons with disabilities.
- One project in Ecuador working on integration of refugees, here the project needs to grow, and coaches gain further experience to include more youth.
- One project in the Netherlands working on integration of refugees and breaking down of stereotypes and empowering the refugees to do online sessions to those in the camps during lock-down and possibly beyond. Here, reaching a wider audience will be the next priority.
- Joined the IRTS network, we try to combine efforts and grow the involvement of the sports movement in integration of refugees in and beyond Europe.
More information on the project’s current status here: https://ittffoundation.org/programmes/tt-dream-building/refugees
- IRTS network
- AGITOS Foundation
- Ping Pong Alkmaar
- Peace and Sport
- Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation
- Jordanian Table Tennis National Association
Challenges and how they were overcome
Providing and reaching equal access to persons with disabilities.
Reaching refugees who attend on a regular basis.
How they were overcome
Both were overcome through partnerships.
Results of the Good Practice
Will share in the next report as the COVID-19 situation has put most of the projects on hold.
How the project meets the GCR Objectives
Objective 1: Ease the pressures on host countries
By easing integration and offering a space for relief and well-being, the participants develop a citizen who can adapt to a new environment
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
We train coaches and develop skills in them and the children which can be valuable for the to integrate a new society.
Further support required for the project to continue or scale up
Long term funding and local partners to reach wider and implement the projects further and well as partners who wish to work on integration solutions in the wider community.