The impact of the Positive Youth Foundation has been illustrated in a series of new photographs featured on the website Goal Click to mark Refugee Week.
Goal Click hosts images of football being played in streets, fields and communities all over the world. The photographs are taken by the players themselves after the team behind Goal Click provides them with a disposable camera.
In particular, the website focuses on how soccer is being used for social good. These photos are part of a wider new series called Goal Click Refugees, launched in collaboration with UNHCR in the build-up to the World Refugee Day on June 20. The young man who took these photos, Mac, has been supported by the Positive Youth Foundation since moving to the UK from Lebanon in 2017.
He explains: “The photos were taken at a PYF football session. The people are from different backgrounds, religions, countries and ethnicities, mostly people that fled persecution for a better life.
“I tried to reveal how sports and football welcome people from different backgrounds and walks of life. Football unites communities as it doesn’t discriminate against anyone.”
The PYF aims to provide opportunities for young people with challenging circumstances to reach their full potential. Its INVOLVED Integration Programmes work with newly-arrived asylum-seeking and refugee young people between the ages of eight and 25, actively promoting integration within the local community and celebrating diversity and difference.
The INVOLVED football programme started in 2017 with 12 young people from Syria, but in three years the weekly sessions have welcomed almost 200 young people from 42 different nationalities.
Programmes Manager Cormac Whelan said: “Football is one of these unique sports that allows people from anywhere in the world to connect. Our football programme, which was initiated by a group of young people as a social action project, has become a central place for both newly arrived and host community young people to create meaningful relationships.”