Turkey / Sports and social cohesion go hand in hand

Şehitkamil Municipality, in the Gaziantep province in southeast Turkey, has initiated a project focusing on the wellbeing of socially disadvantaged children. Eighty refugee children and 80 Turkish children who have never been involved in regular sports activities before were provided with basketball, badminton, football, and orienteering training.

The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted the education and social lives of children and youth. It negatively affected both their cognitive and social development.

The Şehitkamil Municipality’s project aimed to introduce children to sports and provided a safe social environment to shake off the negative effects of the pandemic. In addition to specific sports activities, participants attended hygiene training and training on healthy nutrition, environmental protection, and the dangers of drug use.

Children playing and having fun together has accelerated social cohesion and increased trust in the municipal services! Even after the project is over, children still benefit from other training and courses provided by the municipality. They keep in touch with their fellow trainees. The project has also shown that children and young people who have never played sports before discovered hidden talents and gained self-confidence. For example, a young person who participated in the activities went through talent screening tests, and he continues to play football in Şehitkamil Sports Club.