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National partner profile: Kyrgyzstan

Participants

Youth from illegal settlements and orphans; women and men who are migrants from rural areas and live in women’s shelters and/or in informal settlements around Bishkek

Locations

Bishkek, Osh, and some rural areas

Street Football Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic

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Street Football Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic (SFF) works with orphans, vulnerable children, and marginalised adults residing in illegal settlements. Many of their adult participants are migrants from rural areas who seek better life in Bishkek. SFF run three core activities: annual tournaments among orphanages, providing humanitarian help to orphanages, and preparing and selecting the Homeless World Cup national team.

Firstly, SFF conducts two to three annual tournaments for the orphanages and youth from illegal settlements that are a pressing issue in Kyrgyzstan. The competitions are held in Bishkek and Osh, and starting in 2012, expanded to more remote areas. The competitions take place under the slogans “Football for peace,” “Say NO to violence against women,” and “Red card to orphanhood.”

The competition in Osh tries brings together and contributes to inter-ethnic reconciliation between the Kyrgyz and the Uzbek people after the 2010 conflict in the south of Kyrgyzstan. There are three parts of the competition: master class, workshops, and football matches. Secondly, SFF provides humanitarian aid to the orphanages, including providing football equipment, clothes, food and sweets, and activities such as concerts. Thirdly, SFF organises the activities and logistics for the selection and preparation of the Kyrgyz national homeless teams.

All their activities are conducted in partnership and with support of the Kyrgyz Football Association, football clubs Abdysh-Ata, Azalia, and Dordoi, the German and Russian Embassies, and business partners. The Asian Football Confederation and USAID have helped finance some of their programmes.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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Their mission is to involve vulnerable children and marginalised adults in normal life and social activities through street football. Street Football Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic is particularly focused on working with socially excluded people who live in illegal settlements and are therefore deprived of many opportunities.

Football offers marginalised people a chance for socialisation, goal-setting, and personal development.

Goals for the future

Programme Development

To include include young men and women from youth detention centres in their programmes

Social Inclusion

To promote inter-ethnic reconciliation between the Kyrgyz and the Uzbek people through football tournaments

Additional information

Football Activities

Annual tournaments and selection and preparation of the Homeless World Cup national team

Team selection

The players are selected through the football competition between shelters and people coming from homeless shelters.

Non-football services

SFF provide humanitarian aid, including football equipment, clothes, and food and sweets, and organise a variety of social events, such as concerts.

Participants challenges

Orphanhood, migration from rural areas, unregistered residency, and poverty

Organisation challenges

There are conflicts – and occasionally armed violence – between different ethnic groups, particularly in the southern regions.

Country challenges

In the context of a shortage of urban housing, a fragile rural economy, expanding urban population, weak state capacity, land seizures, and forced evictions, 20 to 30% of the urban population live in illegal settlements. Lacking tenure security and city residency permits (“propiska”), poor and non-registered residents struggle to survive without adequate access to education, health care, electricity, and running water, and are treated with contempt by state officials and middle-class urban residents (Open Society, 2012).

Homlessness definition

The core criterion that SFF uses is the absence of “propiska” (registration), a residency system left over from Soviet rule. If a person does not have a registered place of living, one is denied the access to basic services – healthcare, insurance, education, and employment.

Homelessness Statistics

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been in influx of migrants from rural areas to big cities, such as Bishkek or Osh. About 70% of 5.4 million people in Kyrgyzstan live in substandard housing. In 2005, more than 30,000 people in Bishkek declared they were homeless (Habitat.org). Around 20 to 30% of the urban population live in illegal settlements, where they have no social and civil rights.

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