Barcelona FC boss to visit sports initiatives in Refugees camp

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By Sam Nkurunziza
President of the legendary FC Barcelona of Spain, Joan Laporta, will benefit sports programs in refugee camps that are supported by his Club and Nike Inc.

The programs include a mutli-functional center at Kiziba refugee camp in Karongi district, while in Nyabiheke and Gihembe camps, volleyball and basketball courts have been constructed and are currently used by the population of concern and the surrounding community.

Laporta is expected in the country on Wednesday and a BBC TV crew together with the FC Barcelona Foundation is already here to document the projects in Kiziba refugee camp.

This follows the launch of the MES (More than Football) partnership between FC Barcelona, Nike and UNHCR in 2008.

Francois Abiyingoma, the Program Assistant at UNHCR, Rwanda confirmed the development.

“In this program, sports become the key element because it offers educational and psychosocial support for the personal and social development of children,” he said.

He added that the camps which host high numbers of vulnerable children and youth school dropouts with limited or no sports facilities were chosen to help salvage them from all forms of delinquency and abuses.

UNHCR Rwanda Operation was chosen among the pilot countries for the implementation of the FC Barcelona Project under the objective “to construct remodel Centers for Education and sports in low – income countries where there is a high level of child vulnerability”.

The FC Barcelona Foundation has applied this project in other countries like including Ecuador and Nepal. In Rwanda the MES project was funded with about USD 100,000.

The project directly and indirectly benefits approximately 33,000 refugees, the local communities included.

Refuges who talked to this reporter upon receiving the news of Laporta’s visit could not hide their excitement and passion to host the president of such a big club.

“I am anxiously waiting to see him because this is a chance to get exposed to the world of sports,” Fidel Iyamuremye, one of the refugees said.

This post has already been read 19099 times!



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