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National partner profile: Hungary

Oltalom Sports Association

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Oltalom Sports Association give disadvantaged and homeless people the opportunity to participate in sports and social activities. Their programmes, including regular football training sessions, are designed to improve the health of participants, promote understanding, and reduce crime in some of Hungary’s most dangerous areas. Through sports, OSA bring people together and help create valuable contacts and friendships.

OSA was founded in 2005 by employees and veteran sportsmen of Oltalom Charity Society and John Wesley Theological College, joined the Homeless World Cup as the official partner in Hungary in 2006, and have been selecting the Hungarian Homeless World Cup Team since 2007.

OSA also connect participants to other programmes that offer a range of services, including health care, accommodation, financial aid, legal support, and access to employment.

In 2015, they participated in several national and international tournaments, for example the European Street Soccer Championship 2015 in Germany. OSA also organised the Border Cup – a football competition that takes place in Hungary’s neighbouring countries in order to promote a peaceful dialogue in the region.

Another major project run by OSA is the year-round Fair Play Football Road Show, a series of tournaments and events held across Hungary that was established in 2012. The games follow special Fair Play rules and there are no referees, but OSA-trained mediators. The aim is to bring together representatives of different social groups and ethnic minorities, and to provide a platform for them to engage with a spirit of mutual respect and fair play.

During the Road Show, there are workshops and activities designed to promote peace, social reintegration, anti-discrimination, children’s rights and education. Another important goal of the Road Show is health promotion - for example, smoking is prohibited during the event, and participants are provided with access to free dental care.

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Mission statement

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The primary mission of Oltalom Sports Association is the reintegration of marginalised young people and the prevention of antisocial behaviour. Football can be used as a means to educate, build self-esteem and self-awareness, gain conflict management skills, and develop other social competencies.

Knowledge and attitude gained on the pitch have a significant impact on off-pitch behaviour of participants.

Goals for the future

Programme Development

To organise the Fair Play Football Road Show (a series of tournaments and associated workshops in different locations) with nine events in 2015

Tournaments

To participate in several national and international tournaments

Capacity Expansion

To increase the number of locations where football sessions are delivered in order to attract more players

Additional information

Partner since

2006

Football Activities

OSA provide football training up to five times a week, organise the Fair Play Football Roadshow, and take part in many other tournaments.

Non-football services

OSA organise boxing three times a week, table tennis five times a week, therapeutic horse-riding once a week, primary and high school education, professional training, and college studies.

Participants challenges

Substance abuse and marginalisation

Country challenges

The government has criminalised “habitual living” in public spaces, including underpasses, bridges, playgrounds etc. Offenders can be fined, forced to carry out community service, and even imprisoned. The law has been criticised by many NGOs (The Economist, 2013).

Homlessness definition

In Hungary, the Act III of 1993 states that “homeless people are those without any registered place of residence, or persons whose registered places of residence is accommodation for homeless people,” and “any person shall be deemed to be homeless who spends nights in public areas or premises not designed for housing purposes.”

Homelessness Statistics

Approximately 15,000 people are homeless in Hungary, 50% of whom live in Budapest. Between 2006 and 2010, 131 homeless people died of cold or exposure in the capital. In the same period, the number of places at public shelters increased by a third, from 8,200 to 11,100 (The Economist, 2013).

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