ActionAid and Milan Foundation against social exclusion and gender discrimination.

ActionAid and Milan Foundation have pledged their support to both Play for Change and Lavoro di Squadra (Team Work).

The international organisation ActionAid Italia and the Milan Foundation have decided to join forces and pledge their support to Play for Change and Lavoro di Squadra (Team Work). The two projects use sport as a way of fighting social exclusion, gender stereotypes as well as a tool for helping young people that are not in education or work (commonly referred to as NEET) find employment or training courses in the suburbs of Milan.

Play for Change, financed by the King Budouin Foundation and carried out in partnership with ActionAid Italia and AC Milan, is centred on the fight against social exclusion and gender discrimination. It involves around 100 teachers and 1000 boys and girls from the ages of 8 to 11 across four Italian cities: Bari, Messina, Milan and Naples. The children involved are given the chance to take part in what is known as psychomotor learning with professional coaches from AC Milan during the school hours in which they would normally take part in physical education. They benefit from the knowledge of the expert coaches, guaranteeing suitable activities for their age groups, aimed at not only improving physical fitness, but also team working skills, respect for others and the rules.

As part of the project, children from the Italian schools also have the chance to exchange emails and communicate via Skype with a school in India which is also involved in Play for Change. The school in India is based in one of the villages where ActionAid is active, and has the aim of putting the children into contact with children from another country where the social, cultural and economic context is very different. The topic of gender discrimination in families, society, media and sport meanwhile is dealt with via various engaging methods such as role play, group discussions and case studies. Play for Change comes to an end in June with the “Torneo Sportivo” in Milan, a sports tournament that will bring together several representatives from each school.

The second project Lavoro di Squadra (Team Work), promoted by ActionAid Italia and the Milan Foundation in partnership with AXA Insurances, AXA Cuori in Azione (Hearts in Action) and thanks to the operational support of the Vismara Centre, is a year-long project that will run from March 2015 to February 2016. It involves young people from the ages of 15 to 24 who are residents of the Milan Gratosoglio Area (Zone 5) and seeks to help young people not in education, employment or training (NEET). The project provides them with the chance to take part in a free course based around physical activity and what is known as motivational training. The project is also based on the belief that taking part in sport and physical activities has many benefits, such as helping with self-esteem, sense of belonging and helping to give young people the motivation in reaching goals. Based on each personal need, the course instructors from AC Milan and ActionAid create a programme for the participants, that through sport and physical activity, will provide them with the self-confidence and motivation to find work or enroll again in education. In addition, through a consultancy service the participants will be helped in identifying a specific professional or training project, based on their skills and wishes.

“For the Milan Foundation, it is an honour to collaborate with ActionAid Rocco Giorgianni, Milan Foundation General Secretary – who will join us and not only help us carry out this project, but also bring their experience in the fight against social exclusion. We believe that sport can be a fundamental aspect in individual training and growth, especially for those that find themselves in difficulty like those involved in this initiative.”

“We’re happy to have the Milan Foundation by our side, sport not only helps physically, but also with other important values such as commitment, respect, fairness, team spirit, co-operation, working towards goals Marco de Ponte, General Secretary ActionAid Italia – Our organisation has always believed in the potential of physical activity and promotes it within its projects, to increase awareness amongst young people and favouring solidarity and social integration.”