Following a long period of Covid-19 restrictions, which made it almost impossible to have public, in-person events, there was an urgent need to present and share SPIN Refugees activities with the target groups of the project, in particular local sport clubs, refugee & migrant sport initiatives/projects and to sport media.
To promote and communicate the activities of the SPIN Refugees project, we combined it with the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the fairplay initiative (VIDC). The SPIN Refugees / fairplay party event was attended by 100+ participants, including relevant stakeholders and multipliers. Refugee organizations such as NEUER START and SOS Balkanroute were involved int eh preparation of the event. The event took place on 9 June 2022 in the multicultural 15th district of Vienna, Austria. The venue was the former gym of the Jewish sport association “Turnverein Maccabi”.
Celebrating fairplay, celebrating diversity
It was hot at Brick-15 and that was partly due to the summer temperatures and partly to our programme with interesting talk guests, the musical performance of Kid Pex & Esrap and the danceable DJ set by Eklextasy.
“Rap von unten” mit Kid Pex & Esrap. (c) Renate Schwarzmüller
Petar Rosandić aka Kid Pex, founder of the NGO SOS Balkanroute, highlighted the solidarity of the fairplay initiative with refugees at the EU’s external border. “When we started to provide Refugees in Bosnia with clothes in 2018, balls and donations in kind from fairplay were already included. In the meantime, we have joined forces with fairplay to offer free football training in Sarajevo.”
Spin Refugees in focus
At Brick-15, we looked back at past highlights together with numerous guests, but also looked ahead. The stage talk also focused on a current project: Since 2020, fairplay has been coordinating the 3-year project “Sport Inclusion of Refugees across Europe”, funded by the European Commission, together with eight partner organisations in nine countries. The aim is the social inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers in sport through training, education and capacity building of grassroots sport actors.
Within the framework of this project, social inclusion ambassadors were also recently nominated. In Austria, we were able to win Olympic wrestler and former refugee Aker Al Obaidi. Aker who was born in Mosul, Irak was a member of the second refugee team of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). At the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 he reached the sensational 8th place.
In a short video message, he highlighted the role of sport in his life and in social inclusion as a whole. On World Refugee Day, 20 June, the project will launch a social media campaign with the Inclusion Ambassadors from other project countries – true to the motto “United for Inclusion”.
The talk guests (from left to right) included Niki Staritz (fairplay), Kurt Wachter (fairplay), Sybille Straubinger (VIDC), Mirna Jukić-Berger (former swimmer, bronze medalist Olympic Games Beijing 2008, Shokat Walizadeh (Afghan sport association “Neuer Start”) and Michael Kofler, the initiator of the project Herklotzgasse 21, which commemorates the contribution of the local Jewish community in the 15th district to education and sport.
Photo credit: Renate Schwarzmüller
Have a look at the TV report about our 25 years of fairplay party produced by the local broadcaster W24 here.