It started with the Beautiful Girls…..
Malakasa refugee camp has a thriving soccer community, but no programming for football training. First, with leadership from camp residents, we collaborated to launch the self-named “Beautiful Girls” football program. (We love it – the Beautiful Girls playing the beautiful game). Then the boys started knocking on our door – so in January 2022 we began offering weekly training for boys as well. Round about the same time we took responsibility for a top level amateur men’s team. And the CHEERing Football Club began.
The Barca Foundation
Our efforts attracted the attention of the Barca Foundation, who began funding our training in the spring of 2022, and we becamse an official member of their Futbolnet program. With Barca’s support, we began a pilot health screening program for our footballers and their families, which included cooking and nutrition, dental health referrals, and much more. Now we have over 200 players in the program, including about 70% of the children in the Malakasa refugee camp.
Coaches are Malakasa camp residents and CHEERing team members with international coaching and playing experience. All the coaching team are first aid certified.
We used to practise in a dusty car park but now we’re renting field space in Athens
Support refugee football
We’re always looking for help with with funding. Our group has grown from 17 to 40 girls, ages 8-18. Many come to practice in sandals and flip flops. We’ve had support so far from Barca, private donors, the Awesome Foundation, ROSE (Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere), and Forrefugees. Project Elpida sent us over 100 pairs of shoes from Germany! But we have an ongoing need for clothes and basic equipment so girls can play with dignity and without pain.
€5 buys a water bottle
€ 10 buys a pair of shin guards
€15 buys a ball
€25 buys a pair of training/sports shoes
€100 pays a camp resident coach for a month