in Europe

“Move together” – refugee and Romanian children connect through sports


The 6th of April marks the fifth International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. For protecting children in vulnerable situations, Terre des hommes counts on sports as a strong tool which has a positive psychological and social impact on children.

Our new ambassador Roman Bürki, a Swiss footballer and currently goalkeeper for the Borussia Dortmund club, shares our belief in the importance of sports in childhood. In May, he will visit Romania to find out about our work there and support the projects that help children and young people to integrate through sports.

One such project is “Move together” where sports is used to strengthen the intercultural dialogue and social connection between refugee and host communities. “Many Romanians have never had any direct contact with refugees, they do not know them personally. We would like to bring these communities closer together and increase mutual understanding”, explains Kirsten Theuns, Tdh Delegate for Romania and Ukraine.

This year we work with children and youth from two cities, Bucharest and Constanta, where there are refugee reception centres. Both refugee and Romanian children will take part in our sport events which promote fair-play, non-discrimination, diversity, and inclusion. This will give them the opportunity to communicate, cooperate and learn from each other, to increase their self-confidence and make friends. As Roman Bürki explained, Sport helps build relationships. For me, this is an important part of childhood – being able to build relationships no matter where you come from.”

The sport events will be facilitated by a mixed group of women professionals who we train to provide psychosocial support by applying the “Movement, Games and Sport” methodology, developed by Tdh. Being used in our work since 2005, the methodology proved successful in strengthening the personal and social skills of children, and therefore improving their capacity of resilience and psychosocial wellbeing.

By means of this project we contribute to the local integration of refugees and increase public awareness on the benefits of sports for building bridges among people.