Photographer: Davide Bonaldo
Title: That which unites us
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Period: 03/2020 - 07/2021
Category: Solutions

In a corner of Barcelona, the Ong Street Soccer Barcelona uses soccer to foster the social integration of young migrants, mostly from Sub-saharian Africa. For these young people coming from every corner of Africa and South America, grown up dreaming of Barcelona Football Club and Messi, kicking a ball in Spain is much more than just a diversion.

The field, the ground, they represent more a dream come true, infinite possibilities to build a new life, to being able to finally aspire to something in a country that represents one thing: freedom. Football is a way to have fun and feel closure to their idols, meet people who share the similar life stories, or simply free the mind from all the mundane worries for a couple of hours.

And sure a football match won't solve all the difficulties and the problems that a migrant coming to Europe with no money, no documents, no knowledge of the language has to face, but for a little moment the time will stop, and it won't matter where one comes from, the color of his skin, what passport he has, the land will be only one, and the only border that will matter will be a rectangular white line.



The field

The young players get ready for a new training day

In action

Training time

Reeda and Mohamed

Few things foster bonding and friendship as sport even among people coming from completely different backgrounds

Details

Happiness is seen written on the shoes of one of the players

Team play

The team trains and play during football camp in the outskirts of the city Thanks to donations the organization was able to provide a 3 days stay in the countryside a once in a lifetime experience for many of the young migrants some of whom were crossing the mediterranean just weeks before

Yacouba

Yacouba from Guinea is one the longest participants of the proyect almost a father-like figures for the new-comers Despite having arrived in Spain more than 6 years ago he is still waiting for his legal papers to be able to get a job But the difficulties of his situation don t seem to curb his positivity

In the field

Games are a vital part of the practices

Mohamed

Mohamed from Morocco is one of the youngest of the group at 19 years He still doesn t speak much spanish but is studying to do so He would like become a hairdresser

Lunch time

Preparing the food together was one of the activities of the soccer camp in order to foster group work and responsability

Moataz's prays

Moataz leads an Islamic prayer The expression of one s individuality and religion is encouraged in order to teach tolerance and coexistence

Kakè

Kak looks at the sky during a training

Together

At the end of the day more than any match result what really matter for this young migrants is being able to spend some time away physically and mentally from the mundane worries of an illegal migrant in a foreign country and being with other people in the same situation just playing and being free once again even if just for a couple of hours