The final stage of the social project ‘Basketball: a world in a word’ took place last Friday in the Bruno Kessler Hall, at the Sociology Department of the University of Trento.
The project was developed two years ago by 7DAYS EuroCup team Dolomiti Energia Trento as part of Euroleague Basketball’s One Team initiative, which allowed them to launch a tailor-made project for their community that was to receive support from the University of Trento and the European Union during the second season of the project.
With the aim of aiding their transition into local life, the project invited 30 young asylum-seekers from Africa and Asia to take part in two basketball practices per week with Trento youth coaches Nenad Jakovljevic, Moussa Dia and Nicolò Gilmozzi.
The young participants also attended several of Trento’s home games, and during the summer they competed in some friendly matches against local teams.
Last weekend’s final event saw Trento’s new playmaker and former NBA player Jorge Gutierrez talk to the participants about his experience as a young teenager arriving in the USA from Mexico, explaining that basketball has “made me a better man, a better son, a better brother, a better friend.”
Euroleague Basketball is very interested in evaluating the results of One Team programs with specific refugee groups, and the Trento experience is among the projects which stand out on this social issue.
To further support this program and better understand the results, Euroleague Basketball CSR executive Marcel Maneja also attended this final event to discuss how One Team’s methodology can have such a positive social impact, before the session ended with the ‘Basketball: a world in a word’ team playing a friendly match against Trento’s under 16 team.
Professor Vezzoni and Doctor Morandeira from the University of Trento believed the project was a major success, with Vezzoni saying: “The project certainly had a positive impact on the physical condition of the participants, who have improved their fitness.
“The impact on their psychological well-being is complex, but our assessment study shows that the refugees involved in the project developed their relationship skills and broadened their social network.
“We can therefore expect this to create better and easier integration into the host society.”
One Team, supported by Turkish Airlines as the One Team Founding Patron and with the collaboration of Special Olympics as Proud Partner, uses basketball to achieve meaningful social impact in our communities across Europe and is supported by every club in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup.
Since its founding in 2012, the One Team program has already helped more than 14,000 participants through its various team-focussed projects.