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Refugees in Germany

For refugee children in Berlin, soccer is a joyful way to start a new life

The International Rescue Committee has partnered with Nike and buntkicktgut to bring the unifying power of play to refugee and local children in primary schools across Berlin.

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  • The IRC, Nike and a local organization buntkicktgut launched “Berlin Kickt,” a soccer and education program aimed at bringing together local and refugee children.

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  • Berlin Kickt coaches, many who have a refugee or migration background themselves, will run weekly sessions and activities in five schools across Berlin.

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  • Children met with local sports German footballers Jordan Torunarigha (left-wearing the hat) and Arne Maier (right), as well as retired player Andreas “Zecke” Neuendorf (center) at an event in April at Tempelhof, the historic but now closed airport.

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  • Berlin hosts 15,000 refugee children who have fled from war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Parents have risked everything to build better lives for themselves and their children.

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  • Many refugee children need to recover from the trauma they experienced in their home countries, and often from the grueling and dangerous journeys they have endured in search of safety. The IRC and Nike believe playing sports can help children overcome challenges and form connections and lasting friendships.

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  • Refugee children in Germany also benefit from the IRC’s Healing Classrooms program, which provides teachers with the skills they need to help young refugees recover from the effects of “toxic stress,” a biological response to prolonged and severe adversity that disrupts a child’s brain development.Berlin hosts 15,000 refugee children who have fled from war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Parents have risked everything to build better lives for themselves and their children.

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  • “This is where the value of physical activity, passionate and dedicated teachers combined with healing classroom concepts in schools contributes to a safe and positive environment for children,” said Stefan Lehmeier, IRC deputy country director in Germany.

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  • Children at Löwenzahn Primary School in Berlin-Neukölln met German athletes Jacqueline Otchere (center) and Maximilian Mittelstädt on Sep. 26 where they played soccer and other games.

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  • "Building new relationships is important for children, especially because many of the children are longing for more attention,” said the school’s principal Utta Kioschis. “Berlin Kickt hits the nerve of our pupils because young people who themselves have a migration background take care of them."

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