In Italy, UNICEF and local basketball associations have launched a pilot program that supports young locals and migrants through basketball.
UNICEF Italia, the Italian Basketball Federation (FIP) and the Frascati Basketball Club have launched "Diritti a Canestro" (Rights in the Basket), a project for the educational, athletic and social integration of young Italians and foreigners aged 12 to 16.
The three organizations held a press conference on Monday (September 13) to announce the launch. In a statement, they said that the project aims to build an experimental educational, sport and social path for vulnerable young people.
The goal is to provide quality education to improve academic performance and help develop skills such as self-esteem, empowerment and leadership, according to the organizers.
Project partners include the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) and Rome University Tor Vergata.
The Frascati Basketball Club will be the pilot test site. Young people of different origins will be invited to play basketball there. Through sports and study support, the organizers want to foster the participants' social and educational inclusion.
Aside from the Frascati Basketball Club, the project will also create ad hoc facilities in disadvantaged areas.
Once the experimental phase is complete, the aim is to create a national network to spread the educational-sport model.
Sport improves study and development
"Participation in sport improves children's academic achievement and skill development, including empowerment, leadership and self-esteem, contributing to the overall well-being of children and young people and their future prospects," said UNICEF Italia Director General Paolo Rozera.
"Allowing children to play a sport is not just one more opportunity that we can give them: it is their right, as indicated in Article 31 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and Adolescent, which recognizes the right to play as fundamental for all children," said Fernando Monetti, president of Frascati Basketball Club.
"Seeing smiles on the faces of these young people, the great abilities for learning not only in sport, but also in studying and quickly learning our language, fills our hearts with joy and gives us ever greater courage and passion to continue down this road," he added.
The program boasts a special spokesperson: Stefano Tonut, a basketball player with Reyer Venezia and the A Series national men's basketball team.