Last week saw the opening event of the Homeless World Cup Erasmus+ programme in Bulgaria’s capital city, Sofia. The three-day event aimed at bringing together the Homeless World Cup’s European National Partners. Delegates from 17 of the 21 participating nations attended the event. They gathered the first night and had a chance to discuss challenges and opportunities faced by their programmes.
The following day, the delegates continued with the exchange during a conference which also broke off into smaller discussion groups. After that, Viktor Krikov, CEO of Sports Management Bulgaria – Homeless World Cup National Partner and host of the event – had a chance to talk about his own projects.
Delegates were also given a tour of Sofia and visited one of the city’s most marginalised regions where Sports Management Bulgaria focus a lot of their work. The neighborhood of Faculteta, the vast majority of which is comprised of illegal settlements, is home to thousands of Romani families, who constitute one of Bulgaria’s largest ethnic minorities.
At the centre of the neighborhood, stands a football pitch, lined with artificial turf. “The pitch looks like an oasis in the middle of this really poor neighborhood,” added Mel Young, Homeless World Cup President. “Oasis may be a fitting term,” he added. “Sports Management Bulgaria aim to help children and youth improve their lives through football. Football is like their lifeline.”
The Erasmus+ kick off event in Bulgaria has helped the Homeless World Cup and its European National Partners set the goals for the three year programme. “Everyone left motivated and ready to engage and make the most out of their project,” said Rachel May, Homeless World Cup International Partnership Manager. “The overall goal of our Erasmus+ project is to promote and increase collaboration between our partners through learning and sharing, and the event in Bulgaria has been a step in the right direction.”