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IOM, UNHCR Launch The Ball Has No Flags Initiative in Perú
Lima – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, this week (24/08) launched The Ball Has No Flags (El Balón no tiene banderas) initiative, focused on promoting the well-being of children and youth in communities in Perú with high concentrations of refugees and migrants.
The objective is to strengthen values such as resilience, integration and community cohesion through Latin America’s most popular sport: football.
In this first stage, the project is being developed in the districts of San Juan de Lurigancho and San Juan de Miraflores, both located in Lima, Perú’s capital.
Two popular athletes participated at the launch past Saturday: Itzel Delgado, winner of a medal in Paddle Surf at the recent Lima 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, and Yuliana Bolívar, who medalled in judo at the same games. Yuliana was born in Venezuela, but now is a Peruvian citizen.
IOM Perú Programme Coordinator, Rogelio Quintero explained: “The proper integration of girls, boys and adolescents always contributes to the future of a country. Sport is characterized by bringing people together regardless of conditions or flags. For this reason, The Ball Has No Flags will support the integration and development of strengths and abilities.”
Through sport, Quintero added, about 200 children and adolescents between 6 and 18 years old – mostly Peruvian or Venezuelan – learn leadership and cooperation through the prism of equality and inclusion.
The activity is supported by the Fútbol Más Foundation, an organization that promotes community cohesion through play and sport as well as the well-being of children and youth.
“The ball invites us to share, meet and celebrate. We want children, regardless of their nationality, to feel part of the cultural life in their community,” said Jimena Chavez, Social Director of Fundación Fútbol Más Perú. “We celebrate this initiative, where Peruvian and Venezuelan families will gather to start the sports partner program and demonstrate together that the ball has no flags.”
Federico Agusti, UNHCR Representative in Perú, said, “Football is the same anywhere in the world. It has the same rules, the same language and the same joys. It is a refuge for those who have had to leave everything and a meeting point to celebrate something we all understand, a goal. There are more than 30 Peruvians playing abroad, including Paolo Guerrero, and when he scores for Perú or Brazil, there are no differences, we celebrate the same. This project allows Peruvians and Venezuelans to start from a common point to learn to take advantage of their differences.”
The Ball Has No Flags project is part of the integration and solidarity campaign between Peruvians and Venezuelans known as Tu Causa Es Mi Causa. That campaign has been implemented by the UN System in Perú, with the leadership of IOM and UNHCR.
Watch video of the launch.
Join the campaign by sharing the hashtags #ElBalónNoTieneBanderas #TuCausaEsMiCausa and visiting the website www.tucausaesmicausa.pe.