On 15 June the refugee football team--organised through the Luxembourg Red Cross--will take on employees of Raiffeisen.
Photo: Luxembourg Red Cross
On 15 June, a friendly football match will take place between refugees and employees of a Luxembourg bank--a partnership that kicked off during a three-minute speed meeting.
The partnership began when Marianne Donven of the Luxembourg Red Cross and Patrick Borschette of Raiffeisen met during the 4th edition of the Part&Act speed meeting in December 2016 at the Kulturfabrik in Esch-sur-Alzette. The speed meetings, hosted by IMS Luxembourg (the national representative for CSR Europe in Luxembourg), bring together representatives from companies and non-profit organisations who might not otherwise have met.
That day, Donven, who is in charge of integration through volunteering, sports and culture at the Luxembourg Red Cross, had several ideas to share with the companies in the room. Having organised previous football friendly matches, she was keen to share this concept with others who might be interested--an idea that fit well with Patrick Borschette, who chairs the CSR working group at Raiffeisen.
Selecting the date of 15 June worked well for Raiffeisen, as it coincided with their annual 14 days of health at work programme. And according to Borschette, their CSR working group doesn’t simply want to make financial contributions: “It’s also important for us to have this social, human factor,” he says, adding: “During the game, you are in contact with people. It’s also a way to show all employees there’s a non-professional part to the bank and that everyone can engage in [such] projects.”
Marianne Donven and Patrick Borschette (3rd & 4th from l.) signed their partnership agreement during the 4th edition of the Part&Act speed meeting. Photo: IMS Luxembourg
“Part of a community”
According to Borschette, the bank doesn’t want to just make financial contributions: “It’s important for us to have this social, human factor.”
It’s the human factor that appeals to Donven as well. “We manage to give the refugees something useful to do while they meet Luxembourg residents, get rid of some energy and stay in shape,” she says. “It’s important they have the opportunity to learn more about our culture and how to be a part of our community, and sport is one of those possibilities because it makes them feel like they are part of a team.”
Donven describes the football team: “For whatever reason, these young [mainly] Afghani men were eager to play football since autumn 2015 when they arrived. They expressed the wish to play regularly, so we started organizing training, and we have a volunteer coach.”
The larger team--some 40 players altogether--trains weekly at the national stadium, Stade Josy Barthel, and over the last few months also at a school in the Commune of Betzdorf. With summer approaching, Donven anticipates more training taking place outdoors as well. She says the team takes the matches very seriously and there is a lot of excitement.
According to Donven, the Red Cross is always glad to accept donations for athletic wear and shoes--information Borschette helped circulate within Raiffeisen. Donations may be made directly through the Red Cross or brought to the match.
The public is welcome to attend the match at FC Gasperich Tricolore on 15 June at 7pm and root on the teams.
Both Donven and Borschette found success at the 4th speed meeting--not only for this football friendly, but with others as well. In total, Borschette signed five partnership agreements that day, and Donven signed three.
On 27 June, IMS Luxembourg will host its 5th Part&Act speed meeting, an opportunity for companies and non-profit organisations to meet each other and develop partnerships for the exchange of goods, services or expertise. For more information or to register, contact IMS Luxembourg.