European Life Goals Games

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European Life Goals Games

In 2021, Hungary won the European Football Championship. A strong statement… We can all remember the memorable penalty shootout at Wembley, but it was fought by two teams and Hungary definitely wasn’t one of them. Still, the above statement is true: Hungary did win a football EuroCup this year.

How come that it is not all over the press? How is it possible that hardly anyone has heard of this?

The answer is simple: the above success has been reached by another Hungarian team, in another football EuroCup. Not in the Wembley stadium in London, but a light structural stadium at the Jaarbeursplein in Utrecht. Instead of large teams of 26 players much smaller teams of 8 played, on way smaller pitches.

However, in some ways, this little tournament is similar to its big brother. It is also played with a ball, for goals. Just like in our ‘big’ national team, some players come from migrant backgrounds, here, as well. In our case, this is true for half of the squad. Three Afghani and one Iranian player have also earned undying merits in the victory. It is a result of valuable professional work: coaches and players do their best to eliminate their faults by holding video analyses daily, while they do the same analysing their next day’s opponent. Just like on the highest level.

With the European Life Goal Games – as the name of the tournament suggests – sports performance is not the primary and exclusive measure of success. Street football tournaments provide an opportunity for athletes for whom sport serves to repair unfavourable, disadvantaged situations, in addition to maintaining health, and even more so.

But how does it all happen?
On the one hand, at the individual level. The majority of these players are either raised in children’s foster homes, or come from a migrant background, are/were homeless, or grow up within other disadvantageous conditions. Many people took a plane for the first time in their lives to attend the tournament. Regular physical activity is crucial for them, as it makes it easier for them to acquire life skills in a playful way that can serve them in academic achievements, being successful in the labor market, starting a family, and much more. Regular training, punctual arrival, and the necessary communication prior to each event actually all serve these purposes. In football, just like in other team sports in general, everyone has his/her unique role on the pitch. If a team wants to be successful, all team members must be individually aware of their roles. It is true the other way around as well: a team, where teammates are aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, is able to offset individual mistakes, so the team can be successful even if some players are having a bad day. Players have the opportunity to experience the power of community, within a short time, with a smaller stake. It is important to emphasise: when setting the lineup, football knowledge is not the primary selection criterion here, either. Diligence, reliability, “good behaviour” are at least as important.

It is important to highlight that each form of motion has its own set of rules that players need to accept and adhere to. Since Fairplay Football and Street Football – to name only two of the most important sets of rules used by the Oltalom Sport Association – are played by completely different rules, players can gain experience in adapting to different requirements during training and matches. And that teaches just the kind of flexibility one needs in a workplace, for example.

A sense of achievement is also important. It’s an uplifting, self-confidence-boosting experience when we are encouraged by hundreds from the stands, and we don’t even have to win a tournament or a match for this. Success on the pitch reinforces positive self-image and gives confidence to those who find it difficult to gain such experiences as a migrant or a youngster in care. In addition, the features of professional sports – suddenly came glory, astronomical salaries, too rapid improvement in living conditions – that so often ruin the careers and individual development of many talented young athletes do not appear in street football.

At the community level: In addition to developing the skills needed to thrive in life, another crucial goal of a sport-integration program is to build a community that provides participants with a solid base to continue. Although Hungary was represented only by a men’s team at the Dutch tournament, the training sessions of the association are attended by girls too, who prepare together with the boys, so the integration takes place not only on a social, and (inter)cultural, but also at the gender level.

Just as sports – a football game – can be seen as a modeled symbol of life on an individual level, so the team can be interpreted as a scaled-down copy of society. The team will be successful if the players have common goals and strategies and are willing and able to reach them together. This is how it works in the family, in the classroom, in the workplace. Moreover, this is precisely how it worked in Utrecht for a total of about 500 players from 22 participating teams. Teams had breakfast and dinner together every day; there, and at the accompanying programs of the tournament, players got the opportunity to get to know each other in life situations completely different from the matches. Those who were still opponents on the pitch were already cheering each other from the stands the next day.

Operating, as a team: this is the field, in which Team Hungary made the biggest progress during the tournament. Players felt more and more confident from match to match on when to pass the ball further (subordination of individual aspects) and when to take the shot (take individual responsibility) for the sake of the team, even if it seemed risky. Individual mistakes were followed by encouragement from peers who experienced success and then winning the tournament as a shared experience.

At the organisational level: In addition to the individuals and the community involved in integration programs, there is a third player, less visible, mostly hidden in the background, albeit equally important, that should also be mentioned. The implementing organisation itself, together with its personal and material conditions. The members of the team that won the European Championship in Utrecht were athletes of Oltalom Sport Association. The organisation considers sport to be its primary channel of integration. In addition to the training sessions, OSA organises regular cultural programmes, thematic trainings, and scholarship programmes for its players.

Many of the players of the team with the youngest (17) average age of the tournament have been attending the association’s training sessions since their infancy, attending its camps, language classes, and other events. The organic development of the organisation is shown by the fact that the current head coach of the team was a player in similar tournaments a few years ago. In addition to the coach, a social worker is always present at the trainings; they can replace each other if necessary.

Such an international tournament is not only informative in terms of the team’s sport performance, but also shows whether the organisation is on the right track to fulfill its mission. From this point of view, the team’s ever-improving performance during the tournament, the ability of players to fight for each other, and finally winning the tournament are all encouraging signs. Especially considering that OSA does not have its own facility; it organises trainings in the cages of community parks and on rented pitches. The fact that there is no standard-sized street football pitch in Hungary was also a challenge in preparing for the street football tournament in the Netherlands. In the training sessions, they used tape to get the right size. While it is true that working in difficult conditions makes us stronger and more creative, a permanent location, a headquarters where other events can be held in addition to training, would be a major step forward for OSA.

Then, one day, maybe Hungary could win the European Football Championship at home. In the meantime, hats off to the Oltalom team that represented Hungary and won the tournament. Nice job!

Written by OSA



Football for Unity

Football for Unity 2560 1706 our civic space

Football for Unity

The Football for Unity programme of Oltalom Sport Association (OSA), supported by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union, the Berlin-based Streetfootball world and UEFA, has set ambitious plans, aimed at serving multiple purposes. As an accompanying programme to the 2020 UEFA Football Eurocup, the project used the widespread interest in the event to draw attention to the increasing xenophobia in Hungary and to provide a possible solution method.

One of the most important goals of the programme was to provide disadvantaged Hungarian and migrant youth with opportunities for health-preserving exercise and provide them with the possibility to get to know each other. The Hungarian government’s anti-migrant policy in recent years alongside the conceptual intimidation have had their effects: racist, xenophobic, homophobic and generally extreme, violent acts are becoming more and more common in Hungary, even among young people. One of the most effective means of preventing and reducing these phenomena is sport, where host and migrant communities can get to know each other in a playful way. They can experience that they have much more in common with those from the other end of the world than they thought they would.

Another important objective of the programme was to bring together local stakeholders, non-governmental organisations and municipalities that are also involved in the above phenomena, so that they could find a solution to the related problems together.

The methodological background of the sports integration programme was provided by Football3, a football-based game played by co-educated teams, for three halves. The methodology of Football3 makes it suitable for responding effectively to various social problems. An important goal of the programme was to train mediators, who are indispensable in Football3 matches. In Football3, instead of referees, mediators follow the events of the matches; their role is at least as important as that of the referee in a traditional football match. The increase in the number of mediators has a multiplier effect that allows more frequent events of a similar nature to be organised in the future.

These were the closing events of the programme for the past year:

  • 17/06/2021 – Youth forum: at the event, which included a short workshop, the professionals participating in the program, some members of the target group and other interested parties shared their experiences and ideas about the possible future role of the program.
  • 18/06/2021 -Football for Inclusion Tournament: In 9 districts of the capital, a total of 54 teams and more than 500 players competed according to the rules of Football3.
  • 20/06/2021 – Awareness Raising Festival: The winners of the district league competed with each other in the City Park, which serves as a fan zone during the European Championship.

Written by OSA


The Femtalks Forum

The Femtalks Forum 1600 1066 our civic space

The Femtalks Forum

Theatre activities and Digital Storytelling to Empower Migrant Women, Foster Social Inclusion and Change narratives

FemTalks Forum aims to combine different training methodologies into a single highly blended learning program for the development of female migrants. Enabling women to acquire new skills, strengthen their self-confidence and self-efficacy. Participants then have the opportunity to master the practical application of what they have learned using an innovative digital sharing platform.

Using this learning programme, FemTalks Forum intends to help female migrants increase their employability and social inclusion and provide them with additional support for further development.

The cooperation gathers 7 organisations from six different countries, like Inova Consultancy from the United Kingdom, Elan Interculturel from France, Matera Hub and #reteteatro41 from Italy, InterAct from Austria, Odysee from Belgium, and Artemisszió Foundation from Hungary. The partners executed different workshops in the field of group coaching, Forum Theatre, and digital storytelling, online and offline, adapting the opportunities to the pandemic context.

In Hungary, Artemisszió Foundation realised the learning programme, which consisted of two coaching and two online theatre processes and several online creative short workshops that targeted female migrants, living in Hungary and in the cases of the online workshops, female migrants from all around the world.

This is how participants of the events recall their experiences:

“To express my emotions during the week was so healing for me – I feel younger than before.”

“Never give up – to see different interventions helps you imagine solutions in your own life.”

“Some specific exercises helped me to regulate my anger.”

“Releasing the voice and expressing ideas through language allows us to release the emotions and feelings. This is especially important in the first three years in a new country when everything feels somehow stuck.”

“After this intensive week, and especially after the performance, I feel more open and confident towards my surroundings and able to face difficult situations at public authorities.”


Storysharing platform:

Contact person: Anna Végh,

Written by OSA

Hungarian Inventors Day

Hungarian Inventors Day 1280 720 our civic space

Hungarian Inventors Day

Dynamo, ball-point pen, matches, telephone switchboard, Rubik’s cube, vitamin C. These are just some of the most famous inventions invented by Hungarians.

The holiday was first celebrated on June the 13th, 2009 on the initiative of the jubilee organization on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Association of Hungarian Inventors (MAFE), founded in 1989.

Why June 13th? The date got accepted because the first Hungarian Nobel laureate, Albert Szent-Györgyi, a biochemist, announced his invention on this very day in 1941, a process for the production of long-lasting products with high vitamin C content.

Interestingly, it is not only the field of science, where Albert Szent-Györgyi made his mark. It is worth translating what the inventor thought about sport and its social effects:

“Sport is primarily an intellectual concept. A sports team is a scaled-down image of society, a match a symbol of the noble struggle for life. Here, during the game, sport teaches a person in a short time the most important civic virtues: cohesion, self-sacrifice, complete subordination of individual interest, perseverance, willingness to act, quick determination, self-judgment, absolute fairness, and above all “fair play,” the rules of the noble struggle.” – Albert Szent-Györgyi


The ART-RAVALÓ project: a programme of the Subjective Value Foundation and Faktor Terminál Egyesület

The ART-RAVALÓ project: a programme of the Subjective Value Foundation and Faktor Terminál Egyesület 1024 768 our civic space

The ART-RAVALÓ project: a programme of the Subjective Value Foundation and Faktor Terminál Egyesület

We believe that first-hand experience-based creative artistic activities, such as literature, poetry, music, acting, and belonging to a community help us understand ourselves and the world around us. It develops the ability to express ourselves, is sensitizing, and last but not least has sustaining power.

This is why ART-RAVALÓ, the joint social-art project of Szubjektív Értékek Alapítvány and the Factor Terminál Egyesület was created for disadvantaged young adults, raised in child protection. The young people participating in the project will take part in a 9-month-long art and career orientation training registered in adult education.

The goal is to provide young clients with personality-developing artistic activities, whilst in the long run, the aim is to promote a positive future and self-image, as well as enhancing social inclusion and successful employment. Some components of the training programme are: theater art training, life-skills counseling, development of basic economic knowledge, individual occupational counseling program, experiential pedagogical workshops, personalized coaching, regular meetings with a peer group and broadening the cultural horizon (theater and museum visits and common interpretation of what is seen)

The primary short and long-term goal of the Art-Ravaló project is to develop clients’ personalities through pedagogical and psychological methods. It is necessary, as the members of the target group of the programme are characterised by a lack of suitable family background, a personality injured due to difficult circumstances, and antisocial behaviour is also common. Using the professional approach of foster homes and institutes, the programme seeks to continue the pedagogical and development work of educators working in homes with the power of art therapy and first-hand experience. Due to their circumstances, young people raised in public care do not have such an experience at all or only to a small extent. This is also a mistake as these tools could provide an effective complement to the day-to-day educational work carried out under strict rules. In this age group, banning and silencing do not prove to be effective. At the same time, living our own experiences on an emotional level develops the personality, from which we can rightly expect positive changes in the long run. Unfortunately, there are large numbers of young people living in foster homes who are involved in child prostitution, either as victims or as pimps, which is almost inevitably linked to drug use and, as a consequence, sometimes crime. Due to the personality status and antisocial behaviour of these severely injured young adults, the primary goal of the project is to improve their personalities through pedagogical and psychological methods. This serves crime prevention purposes so that young people do not become perpetrators or victims of crime.

One of the main symptoms of personality disorders in young people growing up in foster homes and other disadvantaged conditions is the undeveloped or negative system of values ​​and norms, from which their various acts of violence can also result. Thus, the primary task of re-socialisation is to create a new, socially accepted value orientation, to dismantle their old system of dissociative-antisocial norms, and to help the emergence of a stronger self-image and a positive vision. The application of art therapy, literature, poetry, and acting is one of the most obvious tools to achieve this goal. Creative artistic activity based on personal experience, development from external control to self-regulatory functions are also excellent tools, which are suitable for supplementing and further developing the consistent educational processes established in the institutes. These processes of self-healing have a personality development force that can later help participants integrate into society. By participating in the project, young people can build new relationships with a group – artists – whose attitudes are completely different from their previous experiences. These new impressions can open up new opportunities for them in the development of a positive vision, which can also help to stop the process of criminalisation that may have already begun.

Several of our participants in the Art-Ravaló project came from Juvenile Correctional Institution or Special Children’s Home and the programme brought them many positive changes. In relation to one of our young participants who was involved in a criminal procedure, the acting judge, by changing his previous decision, thought that he would have a better place in our programme and be able to achieve greater change than in the correctional institution. He was imprisoned when he started the programme, but eventually received a suspended penalty instead. A young person from another correctional institution also completed a part of his final year of serving his sentence in the project. Another participant came from extreme poverty. Today she is the one to support her family members at home from her salary. Participants in the programme include former drug users or victims of abuse, who were all able to report progress to us by analyzing their participation in the project. Their example also shows how gap-filling this project is, offering participants an alternative to restructuring their previous lifestyle, and enter their adult lives with a renewed approach, daily routine, and motivation.

On the one hand, this programme provides all the security and framework that a Correctional Institution program can provide. On the other hand, the programme offers even more, as art-based training, alternative education, and the transfer of practical competencies can provide holistic, whole-personality training for those most in need.

One of the important goals of the programme is to support participating young adults in both their successful integration into society and their effectiveness in finding employment, as the two are inseparable.

Want to learn more about the programme and the organisations involved? Visit the following websites: 

Written by OSA


The Hungarian Sports Day!

The Hungarian Sports Day! 500 331 our civic space

The Hungarian Sports Day!

On the 6th of May, 1875, Magyar Atlétikai Club (MAC) organized the first outdoor sports competition of the continent in Margaret Island, in Budapest. The athletes were competing in athletics and boxing at that event. In memory of this, Hungarian Sports Day is still celebrated on this day every year.

One of the oldest pictures ever taken from the Magyar Atlétikai Club.

In the 1870s, doing sport on a regular basis was common only among aristocrats, so initially, MAC also catered primarily to their needs. Over time, this situation has changed a lot. Today, the players of Oltalom Sport Association (OSE) also train and compete regularly in the stadium, as it is still in use!

A more recent picture of the Magyar Atlétikai Club shows there have been some major alterations over time.

Written by OSA

Supporting the youth in Hungary

Supporting the youth in Hungary 2560 1707 our civic space

Supporting the youth in Hungary

We at OSA see that many of our participants have a low socio-economic status, have difficulties in many areas of life, often live in a fragmented family situation or child protection institutions, and live or have lived in unsatisfactory housing conditions. These youth lack stability, regularity, and often a primary caregiver from whom they can be guided unconditionally. School drop-out is a common phenomenon among the youth we target, despite their still being compelled to attend school by law. As a result of all these phenomena, players who come to us, regardless of age or gender, are likely to be involved in crime to some extent (such as theft or drug trafficking). To be able to tackle these social problems, we aim to include youth in our programmes as much as possible and retain them – which still proves to be one of the biggest problems for our organisation.

OSA’s goal
One of the cornerstones of our association’s activity is football trainings held in different locations on a weekly basis, during which the goal is not necessarily to acquire fitness and perfect ball play, but rather to create team building, social inclusion and to overcome (gender) differences. On the other side, in order to establish a more open relationship, our social workers participate in trainings, keep in constant contact with the players and – in the case of our younger players – their parents and relatives. Once a more confidential relationship is established, we try to support our players in social assistance, be it solving a housing problem, mental health counselling or emotional help during a medical examination.

What have we done
Throughout our programmes, we have achieved great results among the youth. A scholarship programme has been held, in which the youth are monitored in their development. Several different English language sessions have been organised – for both under 18 and 18+ players – with a consistent attendance. In order to thrive, it is not enough for them to be able to play football well, it is important that they can also tell the other participants about their experiences. English education plays a big role in this, as those who play football well and attend English classes regularly are more likely to join the team traveling to foreign football tournaments and participate in scholarship programmes provided by OSA. By participating in these programmes, they become active in shaping their own life. Additionally, over 30 employability and employment workshops have been organised, impacting the lives of over 350 youth. Nearly 100 girls have been supported through psycho-educational methods through OSA’s girls’ club. 

One of OSA’s clear successes, has been the cooperation with international football organisations, and the development of good relations with them. For example, the UEFA Foundation for Children and the FIFA Community Programme both made a major contribution to OSA’s operations in 2019. 

Due to the less communication between social groups from different backgrounds, we faced several challenges. Keeping in mind the goals of the programme, we always try to reach different groups in the society. Talking with these different groups it is crucial to highlight common ground for the future and attempt to open up to acceptance of differences.

Written by OSA