Launch of “Terrains d’Avenir”: Olympic Refuge Foundation and French Sports Ministry take action to support young refugees in France

Fittingly, it was at the Maison des Réfugiés (Refugee House) in Paris that the “Terrains d’Avenir” programme was officially launched this week.

Amandine Lauriol for Terrains d'Avenir Amandine Lauriol for Terrains d'Avenir

The programme, co-financed by the Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF) and the French Sports Ministry, aims to help refugees and displaced people in the Île-de-France region to create a sense of belonging and set themselves on a positive life path through sport.

The city of Paris, the French Olympic Committee (CNOSF), the Paris 2024 Organising Committee and UNHCR are also supporting this initiative.

In a message sent to mark the occasion, International Olympic Committee (IOC) and ORF President Thomas Bach said: “The IOC launched the Olympic Refuge Foundation in 2017, after the successful participation by the Refugee Olympic Team in the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The Olympic Games 2024 will be held in Paris, so this is the ideal place to launch the ORF’s very first programme in Europe. It is great to know we can count on the strong support of the French Sports Ministry for this new and ambitious ‘Terrains d'Avenir’ programme, which will help to promote the Olympic values and place sport at the service of humanity.”

Amandine Lauriol for Terrains d'Avenir

The project is being organised and implemented by a consortium of six partners:

  • PLAY International
  • Kabubu
  • Fútbol Más
  • Ovale Citoyen
  • Emmaüs Solidarité
  • Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation

The shared aim of this initiative is to show how sport promotes inclusion and helps create a sense of belonging among refugees and their host communities.

More than 12,000 people will benefit directly or indirectly from the programme: those taking part and their families, volunteers, sports clubs and the general public.

Any displaced young person, regardless of administrative status, gender, sexual orientation, religion, level of education or ability to speak French, will have access to the sports activities organised (rugby, football, taekwondo, volleyball, basketball, etc.). Particular focus will be placed on those in the 10 to 24 age range.

Amandine Lauriol for Terrains d'Avenir

Anyone will be able to obtain a “Terrains d’Avenir” licence and symbolically become part of the sports community.

The awareness-raising and training for clubs, leagues and social workers around sport-based educational tools will be an important aspect of this programme, making “Terrains d’Avenir” a long-term initiative that will form part of the legacy of the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

The programme also hopes to make sport a means of learning French, and thereby help those taking part find a job in the sports sector or other areas with high employment potential.

Amandine Lauriol for Terrains d'Avenir

Talking about the project, Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu said: “The launch of the ‘Terrains d’Avenir’ programme means a great deal to me, as it brings together the Olympic Movement, clubs, NGOs and the public authorities. I am very confident that everyone involved in the programme will keep it running up to and beyond the Games in 2024, to use sport to bring happiness to children, teenagers and adults whose lives have been uprooted amidst terrible suffering, and to reinforce our shared goal of co-existence for the common good.”

The delegation attending the launch of the programme also went to Jean Bouin Stadium in Paris, to take part in the fun, hands-on workshops organised by three of the “Terrains d’Avenir” partners, Ovale Citoyen, Kabubu and Fútbol Más.

Olympic Refuge Foundation

Created in 2017, the ORF marks the latest chapter in the IOC’s long-term commitment to helping refugees, by using sport to provide support throughout the world, 365 days a year. The ORF uses sport to improve well-being, develop social ties and create opportunities for displaced young people. So far, tens of thousands of young people have already benefitted from the 15 sports programmes set up in cooperation with partners in 10 countries. The goal of the ORF is that one million young people affected by displacement have access to safe sport by 2024.
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