Belgian soccer club levels playing field for refugees
KRAAINEM, Belgium — Football isn’t new to Diallo Ibrahim, but almost everything else is.
Ibrahim, a 17-year-old refugee from the Ivory Coast, arrived in Belgium in early February. He’s part of a group of young refugees who rides a van to a modest building between two football fields each week. Most, like Ibrahim, are teenagers who came to Europe alone.
The Kraainem Football Club, an amateur club just outside Brussels, aims to help refugees integrate into their new communities with football and French lessons. The club hosts up to 10 refugees three evenings each week through a partnership with Fedasil, which houses and supports asylum seekers in centers throughout Belgium.