By 90Min
December 06, 2017

Borussia Dortmund are one of a number of clubs in Germany that are taking part in an initiative to help refugees integrate within the local community.

The Guardian have reported that the Bundesliga club's BVB Foundation have created a project, now in its third year, which allows refugees aged between 18 and 20 to attend a weekly training session, eat a free meal and receive a German lesson.

Students from refugee committees can earn a year-long place on the course, and are helped to find jobs and university places upon completion.

“It’s really enjoyable,” Shamil, a refugee currently on the scheme told the Guardian. “We play every week, we eat here and we have everything provided.

“I used to play football in Iraq but in 2014 Isis came to my country and it was very hard."

Dortmund have also offered free tickets to matches, inviting 220 refugees to a game in 2012. That number is said to have exceeded the total number of Syrians given asylum in the UK in the last 18 months.

Martin Rose/GettyImages

“Three years ago, many refugees arrived in the city and we wanted to support them and the volunteers,” said Thomas Klein, from Dortmund’s corporate social responsibility department.

“But we wanted to support something sustainable and were very glad when we heard about the idea from the DFL. It allowed us to create possibilities for the refugees to integrate into German culture and the community."

There is now hope that similar initiatives will be introduced elsewhere in Europe. Clubs such as Arsenal, Everton and Leicester are some of the Premier League clubs running projects for refugees, but they are a minority.

“I’d like to see football clubs working with other organisations in their communities to support and welcome refugees,” said Naomi Westland from Amnesty International. “They play a really important role in integration and social cohesion in their communities. This is a really good model to show how that partnership can work."

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