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National partner profile: Russia

New Social Solutions

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New Social Solutions organise tournaments for those who do not have a home or are not legally registered in the country, as well as for people suffering from substance abuse. NSS has been running the “Social rehabilitation through football” programme since 2003. In 2007, they created a street football league of 20 teams of homeless people, refugees, people affected by substance abuse, and representatives of other vulnerable groups.

In 2003, the St. Petersburg’s street paper Put Domoi (Journey Home), published by NSS, organised the first Russian team for the Homeless World Cup. This has significantly contributed to raising awareness across Russia. Since then, many local media have openly discussed the issues of homelessness in the country – recognition that had not existed before.

A national football tournament for socially excluded people has been an annual event since 2006, and a street league has been running since 2007. The league has been backed by an awareness-raising campaign involving an extensive brochure about football for socially excluded people, published by NSS under The BEARR Trust’s Small Grants Scheme 2007. The league had 24 teams by 2009 and has more than 30 today.

NSS strongly cooperate with an amateur football team Rodina 66, whose aim is to give girls who come from broken families and experience domestic violence, unemployment, poverty, substance abuse, and crime, the opportunity to adopt a healthy lifestyle and achieve positive goals.

The team took part in the 2014 national tournament for the first time, which is a great achievement for a country where football is a traditionally male-dominated sphere.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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New Social Solutions aim to use football as a means of integrating excluded groups back into society. They believe that by taking part in a sporting activity, participants not only increase their fitness levels but acquire the skills of working systematically and as part of a team. In the process, participants establish new social contacts and a more positive outlook on life, resulting in positive change in participants’ lives.

“In football, you will find pain and happiness, equality before the rules, respect towards the opponent, recollections from one’s childhood and triumphs as an adult.”

Goals for the future

Tournaments

To organize the 10th Homeless Russia Open and to take part in the Homeless World Cup

Additional information

Partner since

2003

Football Activities

Running a street football league and a football programme “Social rehabilitation through football”

Team selection

They run national league and annual tournament where selection takes place.

Non-football services

Social rehabilitation, access to employment, and the publication of the street paper “Put Domoi” (Journey Home)

Participants challenges

Substance abuse, domestic violence, and a lack of legal registration in Russia

Organisation challenges

Homelessness is still a taboo topic in Russia and a lot of citizens despise homeless people and do not offer support to organisations helping them.

Country challenges

Many people still perceive homeless people as criminals rather than unprotected population group, due to a long official tradition that criminalised homelessness and vagrancy. Problems for homeless people are aggravated by the lack of legislative and administrative measures (Kenneth and Marsh, 1999, p. 235).

 

A persisting problem is the legacy of the “propiska” (registration) system from the Soviet period – if a person loses their place of residence, they are left without any civil, economic, and social rights. A lack of “propiska” which is both a residency permit and a migration tool (often known as an “internal passport”), results in a person having no entitlement to healthcare, education, employment, and other basic services. Often known as “invisible people,” those without “propiska” are practically non-existent for municipal and state authorities (OCF Way Home).

 

Homlessness definition

Russian legislation refers to homeless people as “persons without fixed abode,” which are further defined as individuals without a residence or a place of stay, and accordingly without the possibility of registering at a place of residence or place of stay (FIDH, 2011).

Homelessness Statistics

According to the government’s estimates, five million people are homeless in Russia (3.5% of the population), one million of whom are children and 50,000 of whom live in Moscow (IBT, 2014). It is not clear whether these numbers include four million “invisible people” (those who do not possess registration or “propiska”). Winters are especially problematic for homeless people in Russia – in Saint-Petersburg alone, 1,042 homeless people died in the winter of 2012/13 (One Europe, 2014).

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