The football pilot project, funded by The SOL Foundation, commenced in mid September 2018, and lasted for three months, with the last training session taking place in December. Based on the lessons learned the objective is to continue what has been achieved so far and further expand, supporting tennis and volleyball sessions, which are currently volunteer-led, in addition to football and increasing the number of sessions.
Problem to be tackled
Lighthouse Relief’s objective specifically with this project is to continue and advance on-going psychosocial support by providing a structured opportunity for peer to peer support, social interaction, learning and play to children and youth living in the Ritsona camp.
The mission at the camp is to provide psychosocial support to youth and children in a sustainable, dignified, respectful and empowering manner. Presently, at the Ritsona refugee camp Lighthouse Relief is running two programmes:
a) The Child Friendly Space (CFS): a space where Lighthouse Relief offers informal educational and learning opportunities through arts, crafts and sport activities and
b) Youth Engagement Space (YES): a youth – led safe space where Lighthouse Relief offers life skills training sessions and workshops, as well as informal educational opportunities through sport, music and arts.
The objective of Lighthouse Relief ’s work and this project is to continue and advance on-going psychosocial support by providing a structured opportunity for peer to peer support, social interaction, learning and play to children and youth living in the Ritsona Long Term Accommodation Center, Greece, close to Chalkida.
The Ritsona camp currently houses a population of approximately 900 people. All residents of the Ritsona camp aged three to 28 are eligible and encouraged to participate daily in Lighthouse Relief’s programmes. Based on the experience of the pilot project, however, for sports activities Lighthouse Relief targets children and young people aged six to 17, 80% male and 20% female. Through the recent volleyball and tennis activities, Lighthouse Relief has managed to engage a larger number of young girls. Volleyball is also open to young adults and the setting is more informal than the football trainings.
With the support of The SOL Foundation Lighthouse Relief will be able to continue with what has started quite successfully through a pilot programme in the last quarter of 2018, an organised sport programme for the year 2019 conducted at the Ritsona Long Term Accommodation Centre.
Lighthouse Relief was established in autumn 2015. At this time, the operational context in Greece was characterised by thousands of refugees crossing the Aegean Sea and landing on Lesvos island every day. Lighthouse Relief’s operational focus was to provide emergency assistance to those arriving from Turkey. Over the past three years the activities of Lighthouse Relief have evolved. Since 2016, they have been starting assisting vulnerable groups such as children and youth in the refugee camp of Ritsona, located approximately 70 kilometres from Athens.