The refugee crisis has proven to be one of the biggest challenges for the European Union since its formation. Starting from the year 2015, according to the European Parliament, around 4,652,000 people have applied for asylum in one of the 27 member states of the European Union. After the height of the crisis in 2015 and 2016 with over one million new refugees coming to the EU each year, the number has declined. However, this does not mean that the crisis has been solved. 2019 saw an increasing amount of asylum applications once again. In fact, it was the third highest number of new applications with over 721,000.
As a lot is said about the distribution of the refugees to the member states, one important aspect is often neglected: What happens to the people after their arrival?
Once arrived in the European Union, the refugees are faced with huge new challenges in a new country, an unknown culture, and a lack of people they know. The integration of the incoming refugees into the society is an enormous task, which is certainly as important as providing a safe place for them to stay.
The international charity organization “United Through Sports” has risen to this challenge and has chosen the approach of integrating refugees with the help of sport. In the city of Tilburg, which is located in the Netherlands, the organization hosted weekly hockey sessions for asylum seekers to help them to integrate better into the Dutch society.
This is a story about the power of sports: