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The FC Barcelona Foundation shows its support for refugees through messages from men’s and women’s first-team players

For World Refugee Day on 20th June, players from the FC Barcelona men’s and women’s football first teams have recorded messages of support for refugees and displaced people across the globe. The Club’s commitment to the cause of refugees has been put into practice both through its own projects and in collaboration with other organisations and entities, gaining awareness in particular thanks to the global alliance signed with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR/ACNUR) in 2022, which has meant the first-team men’s, women’s and Barça Foundation Genuine football teams have all been able to wear the organisation’s logo on the back of their shirts.  

Men’s first-team players Pau Cubarsí, Fermín and Joao Félix have sent messages of support to refugees and migrants, outlining the work carried out by the Foundation and highlighting the importance of the projects it carries out in Catalonia and in other parts of the world. Likewise, Ilkay Gündogan and women’s first-teamers Aitana Bonmatí and Lucy Bronze, who are all high-profile UNHCR/ACNUR collaborators, have recorded video messages showing their support for refugees, through a joint awareness campaign that has been promoted by both organisations. 

Thanks to its alliance with UNHCR/ACNUR, the FC Barcelona Foundation has a presence in four countries in different continents – Türkiye, Uganda, Malaysia and Colombia – which, due to a variety of geopolitical issues and conflicts, have taken in refugees and internally displaced persons.

Barça Foundation programs

Since 2017, the FC Barcelona Foundation has been working on its own programs involving refugees. In Europe this work is being done in Greece, through local Greek organisations at the refugee camps taking in children and families coming from various countries experiencing conflict, as well as in Catalonia, through a number of projects aimed towards refugees and migrants. This includes the Joves Futur + project with La Caixa Foundation, which provides psycho-social support and mentoring, in addition to labour-market insertion opportunities, for young migrants and refugees who have lost state support on reaching adulthood.

In Latin America, the Foundation carries out the “Deporte como mecanismo de cambio” (Sport as a mechanism for change) project, which is being implemented in three locations (Arauca, Buenaventura and Tumaco) in three different administrative departments in Colombia, hand in hand with Save the Children and backed by Scotiabank. In this case, support is provided both to families of Venezuelan refugees, with Colombia the country that has welcomed the largest number of Venezuelans to have left their country in recent years, as well as to entire families of internally displaced persons fleeing the armed conflicts that Colombia still endures.

In every case, the Barça Foundation’s work in support of the refugee cause uses sport as a ‘magic wand’ to help refugee and displaced children around the world makes their lives more positive, but from a holistic perspective, in order to make a real and direct impact in areas such as access to health and medical attention, quality education and equal opportunities for a decent future.

An unstoppable flow

The number of refugees and displaced people around the world continues to grow dramatically and unstoppably year on year. According to the UNHCR, at present 108.4 million people across the globe have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution, violence or human rights violations. Children make up 41% of those who have been forcefully displaced, and this figure continues to grow due to new armed conflicts arising in different parts of the world.

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