A new fund for asylum-seekers at the Norwegian Confederation of Sports has received NOK 500 000 from the Kavli Trust. Interest from local clubs has been huge.
“It’s crucial for Norwegian sport that other players see the value of what we’re doing for refugees. This helps to ensure that sporting activity can remain a high level in local communities.”
Commenting on why the Kavli Trust is supporting the fund, general manager Inger Elise Iversen points to the way the confederation is organised.
This means the trust is confident that its contribution will have much to say for many thousands of young refugees at reception centres nationwide.
“Children and youths can meet through sport even if they don’t speak the same language or hail from the same cultures,” she observes.
“Aided by good and trustworthy adult leaders, this is a very positive way of ensuring that young asylum-seekers find somewhere they can feel secure, get exercise and learn about Norway.”
Grants made to sports clubs have funded both equipment and activities for individual refugees in small communities, as well as for larger groups at reception centres in the big cities.
“More than 130 clubs nationwide have applied for over NOK 3 million,” reports Anja Rynning Veum, development manager at the sports confederation.
“We’re pleased with the huge commitment being shown by Norway’s sporting organisations, and proud to report that no less than 26 different sports are contributing.”
The confederation is particularly seeking to reach centres holding unaccompanied minors. Such children spend an average of eight months waiting for a local authority to accept them.
By participating in sports, they not only obtain exercise and a sense of accomplishment but also build networks and increase their understanding of Norwegian society.
“We know that physical activity also has a lot to say for mental health,” says Iversen. “Providing organised sport will be important for youngsters living in the extreme limbo of a reception centre.”
The goal of collaboration between the Kavli Trust and the sports confederation is to create sporting joy, she adds.
“Thanks to our new fund, many refugees are able to find pleasure in sport together with others,” says Tvedt. “Sport is an important portal to wellbeing and positive thinking.”
Read more about the Norwegian Confederation of Sports refugee fund here.