Displaced children and young people passionate about football in the Americas tell their stories in new series by Goal Click and UNHCR

Venezuela. Goal Click Refugees

Tibisay Vegas Saltarín, a participant in the Goal Click project, plays football with children from her community in Greater Caracas, Venezuela.  © Goal Click/UNHCR/Yuramisel Tinoco

PANAMA – Goal Click and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, launched a new phase of the “Goal Click Refugees” series today, to highlight the power of football to foster inclusion and promote physical and mental wellbeing among displaced communities and their hosts across Latin America.

This storytelling and photography project, launched in 2020, aims to document the personal stories and experiences of displaced people across the globe through the lens of football. With disposable cameras provided by the Goal Click project, participants capture their daily lives and how they interact with their communities on and off the football pitch.  

This edition includes personal photos and stories of 10 young boys and girls in Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. Through their photos, they share their experiences of displacement, their dreams and the crucial role that football plays in their lives.

“Football has a unique healing power. It helps build communities and create friendships, which are crucial for children and young people to rebuild their lives in safety,” said Jose Samaniego, UNHCR Director for the Americas.

Latin America hosts more than 18 million displaced people. Often they have escaped situations of extortion, gang violence or targeted threats. Many are young boys and girls. Jaider, an 18-year-old from Colombia’s Pacific coastal region of Chocó, is one of the participants.

“For us, football is important because it helps us keep our minds busy and gives us the opportunity to laugh, interact and meet other people, as well as to develop  as human beings,” said Jaider, who has twice been forced to flee.

“We could not be more proud to work with UNHCR in Latin America as part of our Goal Click Refugees series,” said Matthew Barrett, Founder of Goal Click. “Whilst many stories appear in the media about refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced people, it is rare to actually hear their voices or see their perspective. The series aims to challenge stereotypes and give an intimate look into their football lives in a way that no one from outside their communities could do. Now, more than ever, the voices of the marginalized need to be heard. The stories and photos are raw, powerful, and real.”

This is the third edition of the collaboration between UNHCR and Goal Click. It is the first time the project is showcasing stories of children and young people in the Americas, having previously featured stories from settlements and urban locations in Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, Cameroon, the UK and Europe. The second edition, in 2021, featured participants from Australia, Uganda and Ukraine.

More information about the Goal Click Refugees project can be found here: https://www.unhcr.org/goalclick/

For more information on this topic, please contact:

 

UNHCR  

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights, and building a better future for people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. We deliver life-saving assistance such as shelter, food and water, help safeguard fundamental human rights, and develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home. We work in over 130 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions of people. 

Goal Click

Goal Click finds people from around the world to tell real stories about their lives and football communities, through analogue photography, short film, and their own words. From civil war survivors in Sierra Leone to high school heroes in Japan and superstar teammates in France. They bring untold stories, from the grassroots to the elite.