“WORLD CUP OF SOLIDARITY. CREATING A NEW INTEGRATION APPROACH FOR MIGRANTS IN ALBANIA”

 

Last Sunday the “Solidarity World” football game was organized in Tirana, an initiative of GUS Albania in cooperation with the Babrru asylum seeker center and several other actors. The match was played by the migrants of the shelter center in Babrru, young Albanians, Italians, Dutch and other foreigners living in Tirana. Different languages sounded over the football field at the artificial lake; Albanian, English, Arabic and French were mixed with goals, calls, sweats and smiles.

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This is how our conviction came to light that building a positive model for the reception and integration of asylum seekers goes well beyond the sport. This contributes to the spread of a culture of coexistence, so it has to become a good practice in many European countries. A simple football match helps to overcome the fear of the foreigner; it becomes an instrument against racism. The game breaks the linguistic boundaries, helps us to find the common points, whether Albanian, Syrian, Iraqi, Kurdish, we are all individuals.

 

For GUS Albania integration means in the first instance respect and promotion of migrant rights, in the same way as everyone else’s rights. Refugees, asylum seekers, women, elderly, children who are leaving the countryside on the only path to escape wars and violence need international protection. We believe that the Albanian civil society must play a role in this delicate process, including and sensitizing institutions and citizens. So on Sunday, we established a cooperation network with the Ministry of Interior and the Municipality of Tirana, following a model that started 3 years ago with the first organization of the World Refugee Day in the capital.

 

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All together to spread a message of solidarity. Today, we are ready to contribute to the promotion of a public debate that deepens the knowledge of citizens on this topic, with the care to be taken when discussing the lives of people.

Given the experience of Albanians, who have a long history of emigration, we believe that it is important to build a social network of hosts. Domestic civil society can play an important key role in the integration process as well as in the fuller acquisition of migrant skills and talents. For the benefit of our country and the society without borders we will build together.

Giovanni Lattanzi and Boiken Sinaj

GUS Albania