youth empowerment

The unique power of football can improve the world: the Oltalom Sport Assosiation (OSA) wants to release this power!

The unique power of football can improve the world: the Oltalom Sport Assosiation (OSA) wants to release this power! 2560 1707 our civic space

The unique power of football can improve the world: the Oltalom Sport Assosiation (OSA) wants to release this power!

With the help of football, we make the lives of disadvantaged adults and children fuller. Through regular trainings, homeless people living in deep poverty, young people living in correctional facilities and refugees are given the opportunity to shape their destiny with the help of our sports and social services (job search, language training).

We are building a bridge between conflicting social groups with our Fair Play football Roadshow tournament. In the matches of our cross-border series of events, important local actors, municipalities, police officers, local clubs and teams from disadvantaged communities shape the rules of their game through democratic dialogue to take the spirit of a cooperative community with them when they leave the field and they return in their everyday life.

Behind the above ideas is a vision for community building. As a civil society organisation, this plays a central role in the life of OSA too. The community, as a retaining force, has help and support for the target group, in this case young people and young adults, due to several aspects:

  • Opportunity to belong somewhere
    Young people experience a sense of belonging somewhere. This doesn’t always come naturally.  Some young people and young adults don’t experience this at all due to their family background and/or current situation. The opportunity to belong somewhere gives them security. Young people can experience that where they go to, the young workers, and another young people are waiting for them, and turn to them with joy and openness. This creates the opportunity for communication.
  • Possibility to connect
    By involving youth in the organisation of programmes for young people and young adults, they can experience and develop their own competencies. Many of them lack positive reinforcement after their actions. To offset this, their involvement in the implementation of programmes for young people helps a lot. After that, they talk about what was good for them and what they could do better next time.
  • Opportunity for free expression
    In many cases, young people don’t have the opportunity to freely express their thoughts in an athmosphere where they are listened to and not criticised for their thoughts, their point of view. This is another aspect at which our programmes can really make a difference.
  • Opportunity to get better at something
    The self-organised programmes ran by OSA involve young people and young adults. The primary goal is to show and teach young people what it means to take responsibility for themselves. Feedback after completing a task helps them understand what it means to take responsibility for themselves and their peers.
  • Opportunity to make connections
    They meet young people who are in a similar situation, so they can experience that they are not alone in the situations they find themselves in. At the same time, they can see examples of the possible roads that lay ahead of them. Working together with older, more experienced people for a few years, could inspire and motivate young people to progress and improve their lives.
  • An opportunity to support the development of an orderly lifestyle
    With the weekly trainings that young people visit week by week, it is possible to incorporate fixed points and programmes in their lives that give a framework to their everyday lives. It gives a system to their lives. An important aspect is that a commitment to these programmes develops when young people feel comfortable with them.

Finally: the pandemic
The pandemic situation has generated some significant changes in the life of OSA. It inspired the organisation to look for new paths, with a focus on involving and retaining young people in regular training sessions. Even stronger, more supportive communication is needed in which players feel they are not alone. Among the existential and other challenges and crises that appear in their everyday lives, the supportive athmosphere becomes even more important. It is therefore important for civil society organisations to be present in the lives of members of their target groups when they need them. This is reflected not only in the fact that NGOs carry out activities that support their daily lives, such as food donations or clothing donations to the beneficiaries (as OSA does on a regular basis), but also in creating a supportive atmosphere in which young people feel that they are not alone. Perhaps the biggest benefit for NGOs in recent times has been finding new solutions to this and incorporating them into their day-to-day work.

Written by OSA

Skate parks – the expression of an empowered youth

Skate parks – the expression of an empowered youth 1080 1080 our civic space

Skate parks – the expression of an empowered youth

Skate parks and civic spaces, a priori don’t have much in common. Nevertheless, if we look at the skate parks more closely, they are often a vibrant space for the artistic and the sportive. They are also a place for freedom of expression. This provides a solid foundation for the empowerment of the youth. 

The following example from the Czech Republic is a good evidence of that:
In the east of Prague, in the district of Ujezd nad Lesy, there used to be an old skate park, which needed some renovation urgently.  It had some defects and presented some dangers to the riders. Despite that, it remained a popular gathering place for the youth and soon grew the idea to renovate the park. At first, the youth who visited park did not know how to proceed and request a renovation until a facebook group was formed with riders and the help of local community workers. As discussions followed and requests got more precise, the youth workers called out to the local municipality to inform them about their wish to have the skate park renovated. Eventually, a meeting with the youth, the social workers and representatives from the municipality was organised. After the meeting, the municipality discussed the proposal and together with the youth they agreed not to renovate the old park, but build a new skatepark. Some of the youth were then even involved in the creation of the park’s plans.

The construction of the skate park was completed in the summer of 2018 and a grand public opening was organised. 

The skate park is now crowded with people. There are BMX, skate and scooter riders. The local youth centre organises regular events and in 2020, two official races took place there. Everything is prepared by the local youth, and the youth workers give them only support on punctual basis. Behind the skate park, there is a legal graffiti wall that the local youth also take care of and use as a wall for creative expression. 

This example represents an ideal form of cooperation and empowerment of the youth. We often see the discouragement that youth can have in realising their ideas either because of the lack of guidance or the lack of trust in the ideas formulated. Here, the key element was the initial support that youth received from the local community workers with whom they were in a trusted relationship. This helped to shape the ideas more concretely, as the youth workers provided experience and also acted as a bridge towards the local authorities, what eventually made the initial idea realistic. 

Written by INEX