“This is how you hold the ball!” says 14-year-old Giorgos* to his peer Ahmet*, showing him the move.
Early in the morning of Sunday, May the 15th, 44 children form the refugee camps of Kavala and Drama, met with 45 Greek children of the sports club “BIANCO MONTE DRAMA 1986” at the municipal indoors gym “Dimitris Krahtidis”, to play handball, as part of the “Together in Sport” project.
Entering the gym, the younger children looked around wide-eyed, impressed by the size of the space. It did not take much effort by the coach of the sports club in order to break the ice; the children, using gestures, with a few words in Greek and a few words in English, managed to communicate as if they had been friends for a long time! The Greek children from the sports club showed the asylum-seeking children how to do the exercises that the coach asked them to do, while the asylum-seeking children tried to show what great athletes they are and how fast they learn.
“Today we took many steps ahead and I hope that next time we will play a proper handball match,” stated Giorgos Pagalidis, METAdrasi’s co-ordinator of the “Together in Sport” project in Kavala.
The enthusiasm of the children was great: at the end of the practice, a small spontaneous celebration started. A child asked for a song to be played on the gym’s speakers. Then another child asked for another song, and another one, and another one… With Greek songs, but also songs from the countries of the asylum-seeking children, all the children together with the coaches and the coordinators started dancing, making it an event that no one wished to end.
When it was time to return to the camps, the children entered the buses and kept asking if the training would be repeated next Sunday.
Events such as this one in Drama, are implemented in the framework of the “Together in Sport” project in Municipalities of Attica, in Ioannina and in Kavala, with the children proving in their unique and spontaneous way, how sport unites us all in mutual respect!
The “Τogether in Sport” project, initiated and co-funded by the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, is implemented by METAdrasi in co-operation with the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the German Olympic Sports Confederation and the participation of municipalities all over Greece. The project is co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). Up to now, more than 2,000 children and youngsters have participated in its activities.
Thanks to the excellent co-operation with the municipalities, the camp managers and the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the next activities of “Together in Sport” will be organized in Kavala and Drama, and will be open to all the children and youngsters under 18 years.
• June 4-5, Basketball sport event (organized in co-operation with the Municipality of Kavala, at the Municipal Stadium “Alexandra Dimoglou”)
• June 25: Handball sport event at the center of the city of Drama, in co-operation with the Sports Club “BIANCO MONTE DRAMA 1986”.
(More information: Giorgos Pagalidis, firstname.lastname@example.org)
*The children’s names have been changed in order to protect their personal data.