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Transnational meeting - vADA Italy

From September 27th to 29th, 2023, the first transnational meeting of the "Through Sport is Possible" (TSP) project was held in Vada, Italy. This event brought together associations from various parts of Europe, including ASD TKD ROSIGNANO (Italy), SPORTSROOM (Bulgaria), and CLUBE DESPORTIVO DA ESCOLA SECUNDÁRIA MIGUEL TORGA (Portugal), to discuss and develop solutions for young people at risk of poverty and social exclusion. This meeting marked the first step in achieving the project's goals. 

The meeting was divided into five key phases, which we will outline here:

Minors at risk and the consequences of poverty.

During the first phase of the meeting, participants explored the issue of minors at risk of poverty and social exclusion in Europe. It was highlighted that in 2018, Romania had the highest percentage of minors at risk of poverty and social exclusion, followed by Bulgaria, Greece, and Italy. In 2020, these trends had not improved, with Romania, Bulgaria, Spain, and Greece still among the countries with significant rates.

Discussions shed light on the severe consequences of youth poverty, including increased violence, a higher risk of school dropout, and an uncertain future with limited job opportunities.

Sport: a key to youth development.

The second phase emphasized the crucial role of sports in youth development. Physical activity not only contributes to physical health but also has a significant impact on young people's mental, social, and moral growth. Through sports, young people can develop autonomy, self-esteem, and strong collaboration skills.

Participants discussed the experiences and opportunities related to sports, such as participation in competitions, peer comparisons, self-discovery and pushing limits, winning prizes, self-determination, overcoming fears, nurturing passions, forming new friendships, and fostering a sense of belonging to a group.

Inclusivity in sports.

Subsequently, the importance of making sports accessible to all young people, regardless of their social class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity, emerged. It was emphasized that all young people should have access to the opportunities offered by sports.

Participants identified three main areas to work on to promote inclusivity in sports:

  • Sports Organizations: These organizations play a fundamental role in improving methods and establishing best practices to enable access for at-risk youth and create environments rich in opportunities.

  • Youth Workers: The crucial role of youth workers in sports was highlighted, not only as technical coaches but also as important figures in shaping young people's personalities. Youth workers should be capable of addressing the challenges that young people may encounter, such as family issues, school-related problems, friendship dynamics, sexuality, substance abuse, family problems, violence, and abuse.

  • A New "Definition" of Sport: Sport should not be narrowly defined as competition and physical performance but as an opportunity for youth growth and the promotion of psychophysical well-being in contrast to discomfort, deviance, violence, and substance addiction.

Human rights and vulnerable groups.

Furthermore, the concept of human rights and the responsibilities of duty bearers were emphasized. Participants learned that human rights are moral principles or norms that describe standards of human behavior. They also discussed vulnerable groups and the obligations of individuals and organizations concerning human rights.

The final quiz.

To ensure that all participants had comprehended the essential information shared during the meeting, a final quiz was administered. This quiz tested their knowledge of the topics discussed, human rights, and the proposed solutions to enhance inclusivity in sports.

In conclusion, the first transnational meeting of the TSP project provided a platform to discuss crucial issues, explore opportunities, and promote inclusivity in sports. It underscored the importance of ensuring that every young person has access to positive sports experiences and highlighted the crucial role of youth workers and sports organizations in this process. This was just the first step in our project's endeavor to offer a brighter future for at-risk youth in Europe.


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