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National partner profile: Lithuania

Association FK Feniksas

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FK Feniksas (FC Phoenix) use the power of football to help people who suffer from substance abuse integrate back into society. Most of their participants are men in alcohol rehabilitation.

They select the players for the Lithuanian Homeless World Cup Team, organise regular training sessions (2-3 times per week) and tournaments, and take part in various international events.

FK Feniksas was established in 2006. Their first international tournament was the Russia Open in 2006, where they secured first place. Later in the same year, they travelled to South Africa to represent Lithuania at the Homeless World Cup. Since then, they have successfully taken part in many international street football tournaments and even became European Champions twice. They were winners of the Social Inclusion Games both in Denmark in 2009 and in Holland in 2010.

They also run a national street football league, which is supported by the Lithuanian Football Association.

Association FK Feniksas closely cooperate with Kaunas Archdiocese Family Centre and support children who are orphans or who live in families struggling with alcoholism. For example, they organise regular Christmas celebrations for these children.

In 2014, they made a documentary called “Alcofootball” about football for people with substance abuse issues in Vilnius to help raise awareness of their approach.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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The mission of Association FK Feniksas is to enable homeless people to be part of a team, participate in various international tournaments, travel to foreign countries, and meet people who share their experiences from all over the world. Their participants are unified by a common desire for a better future. The Association FK Feniksas is open to everyone who is committed to changing their lifestyle.

The motto of FK Feniksas – “We all swim differently, but drown alike” – illustrates that although each person is unique, everyone has vulnerabilities.

Goals for the future

Tournaments

To take part in more international tournaments and to organise a national tournament

Programme Development

To start football training sessions in prison for people affected by substance abuse

Health Education

To improve health and help participants overcome substance abuse through football activities

Additional information

Partner since

2006

Football Activities

Regular training sessions (2-3 times per week), participation in local and international tournaments, indoor football tournament for homeless people, and Lithuanian Open Homeless Football Championship

Team selection

Squad members are selected during local tournaments.

Non-football services

Access to employment and education, work with rehabilitation centres, AA meetings, and Christmas celebrations for children

Participants challenges

Substance abuse and unemployment

Country challenges

There are two central problems connected with homelessness in Lithuania: a shortage of cheap and social housing, and alcoholism (Kocai, 2007).

Many homeless people do not fit criteria to be provided shelters since those with tuberculosis or mental illnesses, as well as those who are intoxicated, are not accepted. This often leads to people freezing to death in winter (FEANTSA, 2014).

Homlessness definition

In 2001, the Lithuanian official census defined homeless people as those who have no permanent place of residence and no money to rent or buy at least a minimum lodging. In 2011, a broader definition was adopted to include people who live in institutions and night shelters. (FEANTSA, 2012).

Homelessness Statistics

Homelessness has been on the rise in Lithuania. The number of people in shelters for homeless people increased by 25% between 2005 and 2012. In 2012, 5,000 people were homeless on any given night. Approximately 70,000 people were waiting for social housing in 2012, a 4% increase from the previous year (FEANTSA, 2014).

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