Integration as a collective task – football inspires. Football connects. Football is there for everyone
For several years now, we have been working together with our cooperation partners to provide a wide range of opportunities for refugees, in order to facilitate their arrival and settling in in the region. Together with the Wolfsburg Alliance*, we are part of the German Children and Youth Foundation’s (DKJS) “Welcome to Football” programme, which promotes the integration of refugees.
Initiated by the Wolfsburg Alliance, we offer the free weekly sports activity Midnight Kickabout to refugees. The enthusiasm of those involved has led to many young refugees now actively training in our alliance partner TSV Wolfsburg’s teams.
Welcome to Football – Cup
After being put on pause due to corona, we were excited to welcome back the “Welcome to Football” Cup in Wolfsburg in July 2021, in which around 60 refugees from Berlin, Leipzig, Bielefeld, and Wolfsburg were able to show off their footballing talents. Before taking to the pitch at TSV Wolfsburg, the participants were invited to a guided tour of the Volkswagen Arena and lunch at the AOK Stadion.
Bringing refugees and the people of Wolfsburg together is an important part of our CSR commitment. We bring people of different ethnic backgrounds together and help to deconstruct reservations people may have of other cultures. One of the many projects that we implement with our cooperation partners as part of this is the event series “Kick & Cook.” In a fun atmosphere, participants with and without a refugee background meet to play football and then cook together. The focus of this intercultural gathering is to get to know each other, so that people can network and tell each other personal stories, for example. Our annual integration tournaments also serve to bring club and amateur players from Wolfsburg and all over the world together.
Breaking down language barriers
The integration programmes offered by ourselves and our partners are not only about meeting people and immersing yourself in other cultures, but also about breaking down language barriers. For example, German language courses are offered to refugees in the project “Learn & Kick – Promoting German through sports” in cooperation with KERN AG – these projects are always combined with playing football together of course.
Another flagship project of the “Welcome to Football” alliance is “Play and use your chance,” which combines sporting activities with career guidance measures to facilitate young refugees’ access to the labour market.
For this special commitment, we were rewarded with special funding as one of seven Bundesliga clubs in 2018.
Our special thanks for all initiatives and projects go to the Wolfsburg Alliance and our cooperation partners:
Bildungsvereinigung ARBEIT UND LEBEN Niedersachsen e.V.
Christliche Verein Junger Menschen Wolfsburg e.V.
Deutsche Kinder- und Jugendstiftung (DKJS)
Niedersächsischer Fußballverband Kreis Wolfsburg
TSV Wolfsburg 1950 e.V.
Volkswagen Konzern Flüchtlingshilfe
*Wolfsburg Alliance: at the end of 2015, the network “Wolfsburg Sport Integrates” was formed in the city of Wolfsburg, consisting of the city of Wolfsburg’s cooperation partners and VfL Wolfsburg. Aside from this network, VfL e.V. and VfL Wolfsburg-Fußball GmbH, the integration department and the sports division of the city of Wolfsburg, the Wolfsburg StadtSportBund, the Christliche Verein Junger Menschen e.V., and the local football club TSV Wolfsburg 1950 e.V. combined to form an alliance. Together, they are part of the German Children and Youth Foundation’s (DKJS) “Welcome to Football” programme, which is funded by the DFL Foundation and the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration.
Fotocredit: ©DKJS / Linna Hensel