Hestia FC, as part of the IOTC “Sport for Protection” Programmes, is the first refugee and migrant women football team in the Balkans, founded in March 2019, in Athens. Until today, 38 women from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Cameroon, Congo, Eritrea, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Sierra Leone have registered to the team as players. Hestia has also welcomed Greek and international volunteers, who participate in the trainings and workshops. Greek women with less opportunities will be able to join the team in the near future.
The activities include two football trainings per week, a weekly workshop regarding the SDGs, the Olympic values and more, as well as friendly matches with local football clubs and actions for the SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, which is the SDG the team has chosen to promote. The overall aim of the project is the protection, empowerment, social integration and psychological well-being of women with less opportunities, as well as the promotion of the Olympic values and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through sport. The specific objectives of Hestia, are the following:
Objective 1: Include and activate refugee and migrant women in sport. Teach
and enable them to practice sports skills.
Objective 2: Provide refugee and migrant women an opportunity for organized
recreation, with emphasis in non-violence, discipline, respect, humility and
teamwork in a safe environment.
Objective 3: Support refugee and migrant women psychological well-being.
Objective 4: Promote the significance of refugee and migrant women’s social
Objective 5: Promote equal access to sport field.
Objective 6: Integrate and facilitate social contact between different ethnic,
religious and linguistic groups, as well as the program participants and the
Objective 7: Raise awareness to the refugee population concerning the positive
effects of sport and physical activity, as part of a healthy life style.
Objective 8: Raise awareness to the refugee population concerning the Olympic
Objective 9: Raise awareness concerning the United Nations Sustainable
Development Goals at large.
Objective 10: Provide learning and employability opportunities to refugee and
migrant adults: sport offers an opportunity to develop formal and informal
skills. Guiding individuals and managing teams, developing administration skills,
all offer the opportunity for self-development and formal and informal learning
that can lead to greater confidence, a bridge into further qualifications and
employment, or impact in other areas.
Objective 11: Promote understanding of cultural backgrounds and reflection in
order to increase tolerance and to reduce prejudices and xenophobia in the
Objective 12: To set the bases for sport programmes to continue in the future by
the states and the sport clubs of Europe, who by this time are unable to fully
support programmes as such.
Hestia FC is the Champion of the European Global Goals World Cup (Copenhagen, May 2019), and won the 3rd position at the finals that were held in New York in September 2019 during the UNGA. IOTC was a nominee for the Development and Peace through-sport-programme of the Year for Hestia FC at the Peace and Sport Awards in Monaco in December 2019. The team was also invited by UNHCR and participated in the UN Global Refugee Forum (Geneva, December 2019).Two short documentaries have been produced by award-winning directors. The team has also been covered by approximately 60 major international and local media, such as BBC, Associated Press, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune etc.