IRIS: Roma Integration through Sport
The IRIS Project “Roma Integration through Sport” was founded with the aim of countering stereotypes about Roma and their diffusion, fighting old and new clichés whose persistence and diffusion are the cause of racist attitudes, discriminatory actions, and violent incidents against the Roma population. One of the main problems concerning the integration of Roma is the early school leaving of Roma children: a high percentage of them leave school at the age of 10-12 years. One of the causes is the low motivation of parents to have educated children, the other is due to the discrimination and bullying suffered by Roma from non-Roma peers.
Thanks to the IRIS project, young people of different ages met to discuss racist stereotypes to overcome, in the presence of students, experts, NGOS, public institutions. The project was aimed at Roma and non-Roma children between the ages of 10 and 18 in areas with a high concentration of Roma population; representatives of sports and non sport NGOS working with children, Roma associations, parents associations; representatives of local governments, schools, ministries, public agencies for the defence of children’s rights, representatives of the media. The target groups indirectly involved are ordinary citizens, who have received information about the project through media and promotional material: the aim was to raise awareness of the problem of Roma integration in order to demonstrate that integrated Roma are citizens on an equal footing with others.
The IRIS Project has also organized several seminars on the social integration of the Roma population through sport, during which the young participants had the opportunity to practice different sports: football, rugby-tag, archery, kin-ball, swimming, volleyball and team games.
Thanks to these experiences Roma and non-Roma have learned to be together, of different ages from different backgrounds. The participants met in the countries of the partner associations: Italy, Bulgaria, Romania.
COMITATO TERRITORIALE UISP Ciriè Settimo Chivasso (ITALIA)
FONDAZIONE COURAGE DI PLOVDIV (BULGARIA)
ASSOCIAZIONE NATIONAL ROM CENTER ‘SAINT GEORGE’ (BULGARIA)
ASSOCIAZIONE SPORT FOR ALL DI ILFOV COUNTY (ROMNIA)
ASSOCIAZIONE SPORT FOR ALL DI SUCEAVA COUNTY (ROMNIA) ISCA – ASSOCIAZIONE INTERNAZIONALE DI SPORT E CULTURA (DANIMARCA)