the power of football and people
We believe that every person who finds the courage and power to change his situation, is a winner. We are convinced that everyone has weaknesses, but strengths as well. Every person has talents and possibilities. No one is ‘hopeless’ or ‘lost’ for our society. The players can give their lives a positive twist by using the power within and the motivation that football gives.
The Belgian Homeless Cup is a social-sportive football competition that engages the power of football for the reintegration process of homeless people.
This process can have a social character (social assistance, a meaningful use of spare time, building self-confidence and constructing a positive self-image) or a professional character (education, employment). There is also an improvement on the physical level as the football players get in shape and work on their health.
The foundation of the Belgian Homeless Cup are the local teams. There are 27 teams active in the national competition and 12 teams in our Brussels metropolitan competition.
The top days of the BHC are the national tournaments: we play these as much as possible on public spaces. We organized tournaments on the main market squares of Sint-Truiden, Mechelen, Bruges, Genk etc. This way we offer a podium for our players and team to showcase what they can do on the one hand, on the other hand we want to raise awareness on the issues of homelessness.
When we think about homeless people, we automatically think of an older man with a beard and a mucky long raincoat who is singing a song of sorrow in a drunk way. Most people will be surprised to learn that the average homeless person rather turns out to be a young woman than a man over 45 years old. We have a typical image of ‘the homeless’. Moreover we often have the wrong image about the reason why people become homeless and how they experience this.
People often say "it’s their own fault". Sometimes it is, but in most cases people become homeless because of a long process of broken connections/ties and exclusion. Different causes laid the foundation of this downward movement such as the loss of a job or house, a break-up, bankruptcy or illness. Problems in education and mental health have an influence as well.
We want the players to build confidence and develop a better self-image, starting from their own strengths and possibilities. They want to bring structure to their lives once more, enjoy the power of a group and the feeling of belonging. Social workers help them to take the first step towards a new beginning and they give them a chance to tell a positive story.
Some of our players literally don’t have a roof above their heads, others do. A house doesn’t always mean a home!
Under homeless people we understand the next groups as well:
- people without official papers
- people in shelter homes
- people with drugs or alcohol addiction
- people in temporary homes
By engaging homeless people in the positive dynamics reached by playing football, they regain faith in themselves. We want to involve them and give them opportunities to work on a goal together and to take responsibilities. This is a first step towards social assistance, education or work. Our players and supporters learn skills and attitudes that can be used in their direct surroundings, but in a working environment as well.
Building on self-confidence and a better self-image, starting from own strengths and possibilities, a more structured life, experiencing the power of a group and the feeling of belonging somewhere: that’s what we want to offer our players. Taking the first step to a new beginning. This way they can find better accommodation, education etc.