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The IRTS Ukraine Nordic Project wraps up in Helsinki


The recent meeting in Helsinki marked a successful conclusion to the IRTS Ukraine Nordic project. Held at the Monaliiku Office (April 15th-17th), it was a time to reflect on achievements, share learnings, and plan for the future. Representatives from Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Denmark came together to discuss their experiences in using sports to integrate Ukrainian refugees.

Here's a closer look at the inspiring contributions from each participating country:

Finland's Monaliiku coordinated modern dance classes specifically tailored for Ukrainian girls aged 7-10, with the assistance of a Ukrainian instructor to ensure cultural resonance and optimal engagement. Additionally, they organized another pilot action aimed at Ukrainian mothers and their babies, offering Yoga Flow with Baby sessions in collaboration with the Ukrainian Association in Finland. The positive outcomes witnessed during the pilot phase led to the decision to extend and sustain these activities going forward.

Danish Schoolsport's objective was to encourage teachers to utilize sports as a means of promoting integration by developing physical activities with a social focus applicable to all contexts with refugee populations, not exclusively Ukrainian refugees. Ten brain breaks and games were tested by three piloting schools, revealing their success in engaging Ukrainian children, who participated and enjoyed the activities alongside their peers. The next phase involves expanding involvement to additional schools across Denmark.

The Norwegian Viken Sport Region focused on exploring and evaluating the impact of diverse sports activities and programs aimed at fostering inclusion and engagement among children and youth, while also cultivating a secure and inviting environment for them. Collaborating with sports clubs such as Lørenskog and Stabekk, they tested exercises from the IRTS compendium to determine the most beneficial activities for the children. Additionally, they produced a video titled "Dear Coach" to increase awareness about the emotions experienced by young refugee individuals.

UMFI from Iceland faced the necessity of postponing numerous planned key pilot actions due to a volcanic eruption. This unfortunate event resulted in the relocation of 4000 residents, including 500-600 young people aged 6-15. UMFI played a vital role in coordinating and facilitating communication and cooperation among various stakeholders, including authorities, municipalities, sports clubs, Grindavík, and the Grindavík youth club. The most profound lesson learned from this unexpected challenge was the power of unity in overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It highlighted that regardless of the severity of circumstances, many problems can be resolved through collaboration and solidarity with others.

The project partners discussed the challenges they encountered and their successful strategies for overcoming them, while also reflecting on the broader insights gained from the project. In conclusion, they emphasized a shared long-term vision for sustainability, focusing on supporting children's well-being. Looking ahead, this entails engaging additional stakeholders in the project's mission.

Posted on 07/05/2024 by ISCA


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