A multicultural football tournament in Sao Paulo this past weekend was not just about which team scored the most goals.
It was an opportunity for refugees to better integrate into a society facing its own challenges.
CGTN’s Paulo Cabral has our report.
Brazil holds refugee football tournament with hopes of helping integrationA multicultural football tournament in Sao Paulo this past weekend was not just about which team scored the most goals. It was an opportunity for refugees to better integrate into a society facing its own challenges. CGTN's Paulo Cabral has our report.
Refugees in the country of football – at this multicultural tournament in Sao Paulo teams representing Angola, Burkina-Faso, Congo, Haiti, Mali, Syria, The Gambia and Brazil.
Last year, the event was cancelled because of a struggling economy. It’s back this year even if the recession didn’t go away.
Besides the football tournament, there are also activities for the children and families of the players. The main goal of this event to introduce the immigrants to other people from different communities to help them better integrate into the local society.
The are also about 43,000 Haitians in Brazil who are not officially refugees but who have been granted.
Many of the refugees and immigrants who have already been in Brazil for a while have found jobs and created their own networks to help to them make it through the economic crisis. For those who arrived recently, the recession makes it much harder to settle in and build a new life.
The founder of the NGO that organizes the tournament says the struggling economy also makes it harder for Brazilians to accept the newcomers.
“People say they are coming here to steal our jobs. It’s the kind of thing we hear all the time. And when there is a crisis this kind of idea resonates, of which I disagree, resonates more in society This makes their integration process even harder.”, said Marcelo Haydu the President of ADUS Institute for Refugee Integration.
In this tournament, the team from Congo was the champion with the Haitians coming in second. Trophies were awarded just for the top two but organizers here say everyone was a winner.