To mark the World Day of Social Justice on 20th February, the EU Info Centre, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, hosted a screening of the Polish film “The Offsiders” (“Boisko bezdomnych“). The film portrays a group of homeless men in Poland, who, under the leadership of a former football player, set up a football team and trained hard to qualify for the Homeless World Cup.
On this occassion, H.E. Andrzej Krawczyk, the Ambassador of Poland to BiH noted the universal message communicated through the film, that of the power of sport to drive social changes.
“The film presenting hardships of homelessness conveys a strong universal message of connecting people living on the margins of the society through sports as a tool for inclusion. Indeed, sporting spirit and teamwork know no poverty and nationality”, Ambassador Krawczyk said.
Ambassador also reminded that the social inclusion issue is one of the challanges the whole Europe is facing, adding that “Social inclusion is a challenge all modern societies deal with, and it requires our political and moral response. It is crucial to emphasise that the EU tackles this issue through the Social Investment Package, an integrated policy framework which takes account of the social, economic and budgetary divergences between Member States“.
Head of the Development and Cooperation Sector at the Association “EMMAUS” and coordinator of the BiH Homeless Football Team Elmedin Skrebo presented the homeless football team project and the importance of such a project on addressing the social issues of the homeless.
“Our team has actively participated in the Homeless World Cup, a project co-funded by UEFA, since 2011, and the ranking in the cup is not what matters the most; it is the fact that sport, in this case football, is a means to make a difference and initiate positive changes in lives of young people living on the margins of our society. Our Association strives to accept homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless as equal members of the society through this project”, Skrebo concluded.
Dragan Maksimovic, a member of the BiH Homeless Football Team, who played in the Homeless World Cup in Poland, stressed the impact of participating in the football team activities on his social rehabilitation progress.
“Participation in the 2013 Homeless World Cup in Poland helped me in social rehabilitation and inclusion in the society. Now I feel like a useful member of the society who can contribute to the community”, Maksimovic said.
The event gathered members of the BiH Homeless Football Team, representatives of civil society organisations and the international community.
The World Day of Social Justice proclaimed on 20th February calls upon countries to devote the day to promoting national activities in tackling issues such as poverty, exclusion and unemployment. Observance of the World Day of Social Justice should support efforts of the international community in poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social welfare and justice for all.