More than one thousand refugees will benefit from the donation made by the Real Madrid Foundation on Friday at the Krnjaca refugee camp in Belgrade, Serbia. The aim is to collaborate in caring for more than 3,000 people, who come to the camp each day from Syria, Afganistan and Iraq, where they are assisted by the NGO Mercy Corps.
The provision of ‘basic football kits’ was overseen by Rosa Roncal, director of the International Area of the Real Madrid Foundation; Ivan Miskovic, from the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration; and Sasa Marusic, programme manager for the Mercy Corps. The packs are made up of basic equipment needed to play a match or train on a regular basis. They contain footballs, nets, pumps, cones and markers, which come together to create an authentic, portable football pitch.
Serbia and Macedonia
More than one thousand children from refugee camps in Krnjaca, Presevo, Sid and Subotica, will be the prime beneficiaries, able to play thanks to these kits. In this way, they may be able to distance themselves from the environment and circumstances in which they are living. The initiative will also help more than 200 young people from the camps at Sjenica and Tutin, and Tabanovce and Gevgelija, in Macedonia.
This allows football to become a vehicle for education, cooperation and integration, promoting fundamental values in children’s growth. Sasa Marusic reflected on the importance of these projects: “It’s important to provide the migrants with opportunities to take part in educational, cultural and leisure activities in order to reduce frustration and avoid conflicts”. Just like the safe houses in Spain or the UNRWA refugee camps, the camp in Belgrade will now boast a new leisure-education element: football. “The big task that lies ahead for us is to be prepared enough for the harsh winter conditions with the cold”, said Ivan Miskovic.