Sport as the Key to Integration : Project Saturn


I’m Mariame Sow from the charitable association formerly called FORWARD – Germany, presently FORWARD for Women. We’re here in Nied, part of Frankfurt am Main, in refugee housing run by the ASB (Arbeiter Sanitäter Bund or First Aid).

MOHAMED HANZA TARIQ: We have 150 residents of 9 different nationalities.

THOMAS MÜFFKE. We built this up and then I met Mariame of FORWARD, who has become one of our most important partners.

MARIAME: Integration is also one of major interests as a feminist theme because we understand that here in Germany, the position of women looks a lot different than it had in their home countries. In my experience, working only with women in all-woman groups doesn’t accomplish much because men, too, must be addressed.

THOMAS MÜFFKE: In contrast to programs we otherwise offered to refugees, this one includes relaxing activities that facilitate people’s opening up, for instance, drumming together, cooking together, dancing together and weaving into it all discussions of important values, especially concerning the roles of women and men in Germany.

MARIAME: We don’t lecture but instead create platforms for discussion and exchange of viewpoints so that newcomers can better orient themselves in the new society and thereby improve decision-making. As a women’s NGO we asked ourselves, how can we pull the men in, convince them to join us? So we asked them, what do you need? They answered: football (soccer).    

The project aims to integrate refugees into society via football (soccer). The project brings young men from a number of residences for asylum-seekers who train and compete against other Frankfurt teams.

The sport opens a door to discussion of other important themes including how the system works, how to negotiate identity, men’s roles, friendship with other immigrant communities, and democracy.

Men in residing in housing for refugees. 35 participants.

Discussion topics:

  • Friendship beyond their own communities, for instance with Germans. Possible?
  • Mastering the challenges of daily living in the new environment and anger control
  • Drumming workshops to relieve stress and deal with trauma
  • Social get-togethers: what does ‘being a man’ mean in Germany society? What characteristics apply?

Financed by:

House of Resources Rhein-Main


Here you will also find the corresponding interview by House of Resources Rhein Main with Dr. Mariame Sow.