The many faces of football

4 Jul 2014   |   Blog   |   Supporter action

Tags:  education, Social justice, Olympics, World Cup, Sports for Justice   |   No comments

Sports for Justice workshop in Brisbane

By Brendan Joyce and Susan Bentley (Global Education Advisors, Caritas Australia)

What can you create with a pile of newspapers, plastic bags and string? Carlos, a young man in Mozambique, scavenges these resources from a rubbish tip to make footballs.

From Carlos and his mates kicking their makeshift football in the street, to the international and multi-million dollar industry of professional football, soccer is a game as diverse as the millions of people who enjoy it worldwide. But as Brazil hosts the 2014 World Cup and prepares for the Summer Olympics in 2016, Caritas is working to ensure that international sporting events continue to unite us, rather than divide.

In partnership with Australian Catholic University and Wagga Wagga CSO, Caritas has been facilitating Sports for Justice workshops around Australia. With an emphasis on human rights, sustainable development, and Caritas’ partnership with the Movement of the Defence of the Favelas in São Paulo, students have learnt about the impact of this year’s World Cup on Brazil’s vulnerable favela residents. The workshops allows students to explore issues like forced evictions, making way for sports stadiums and hotels; the billions of dollars Brazil is spending on sporting infrastructure projects; and the millions of people living in the favelas who do not have access to basic necessities such as clean, safe water, electricity and sewerage.

By playing an “all to play for” handball match students learnt how cycles of poverty can repeat and make it more difficult to combat problems associated with poverty. By completing the World Cup quiz in teams, students saw how human rights violations marginalise already-vulnerable people living in host cities of mega sporting events. And by learning about Caritas’ soccer balls and wristband program in the Solomon Islands, students saw the great potential for sport to build peace, enhance development and promote community wellbeing.

During the workshops students brainstormed ways they could take action in solidarity with those communities marginalised by mega sporting events. If you’d like to get involved – feel free to try out their ideas!

  • Adding their signature to Caritas Australia’s petition which challenges FIFA and the International Olympic Committee to ensure sporting events are just and sustainable
  • Raising awareness about the petition by sharing it with their broader school community at assembly, newsletter entries and organising sign-on sheets at morning tea and during lunch
  • Using their consumer power to make “Fair trade” choices when purchasing sporting equipment
  • Taking initiative to organise a Caritas “Sport for Justice “ Event in their schools
  • Promoting sport for justice by fundraising for Caritas and encouraging teachers, students and parents to join Team Caritas Ks in fun runs such as the City2Surf (Sydney, Perth), City2Sea (Melbourne), Bridge to Brisbane, City-Bay (Adelaide) or many more.

Further links:

Find out more about the Sports for Justice campaign
Resources for organising a Sports for Justice event (including running an "all to play for" handball match)

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