In 2022, the Parimatch Foundation continued to actively support children and their development through sports in Cyprus. The foundation has invested over 300,000 euros in this direction, with the results being sensational.
- More than 200 children are benefiting systematically by attending on a weekly basis sports training under the ‘Sports Mentor’ and ‘Yes I Can’ programs of the Parimatch Foundation.
- 18 young Cypriot athletes who are competing in Olympic Sports are benefiting from monthly scholarships through the ‘Boost for Best’ Program. The program is running successfully for the 3rd consecutive year. 20 new strategic partnerships have been developed by the Foundation which helps to make sports and education more accessible to all children
YES I CAN
In 2022, the comprehensive program ‘Yes, I can’ was launched in Cyprus, on the background of its considerable popularity in Ukraine. The program is aimed at creating appropriate conditions for sports activities for children with disabilities. One of the obstacles for such children is the lack of qualified specialists and infrastructure. Four new sports groups were established in different areas of the island.
A parakayak training group was among the first sports groups to start their training under ‘Yes, I can’ program. Water sports are particularly developed and they can be practiced all year round. Every weekend, training sessions are held by experienced instructors who help children with disabilities to master a new sport. This group has been developed in collaboration with the Nautical club of Kerynia.
In October 2022, a long-awaited partnership with “Special Olympics” helped us to launch training and rehabilitation courses through horse riding for children with disabilities.
Providing opportunities for children with special educational needs to play sports is our great achievement. We held the first open soccer training session for children with autism. And in 2023, the Parimatch Foundation will launch a training course for coaches and physical education teachers who want to work with children with mental disabilities, and start football groups for children with autism. Children will have the opportunity to attend weekly football training sessions absolutely free of charge. This program will run in collaboration with the ‘Cyprus autism association’ and ‘ARIS Limassol FC’.
Last but not least, the Parimatch Foundation has developed a collaboration with the School of Deaf of Cyprus, where children of the school can attend on a weekly basis floorball sessions.
To ensure that children with physical and mental disabilities already have access to a minimum sports infrastructure that takes into account their needs (parks, gyms, sports teams/academies, nature trails), the Parimatch Foundation supported the creation of a new section in the “Ablebook App for an Accessible City”, which has a list of all locations for children and adults with disabilities. The new section of the app named ‘Kids’ lists accessible areas where kids with disabilities can have access to sports.
BOOST FOR BEST
In August 2020, the Foundation signed a 5-year Memorandum of Collaboration with the Cyprus Association of Olympics Participants (C.A.C.O.A.) regarding the development of a program that will give scholarships to young athletes. This means that the Boost4Best program initiated by Parimatch Foundation to support young athletes has been operating in Cyprus for 3 successive years. Boost4Best is an annual sponsorship of young promising athletes in Cyprus that helps them cover their training and other sports expenses, as well as buy uniforms, and participate in competitions so that they could fully discover their own talent. In 2022 as part of the program, the Parimatch Foundation has allocated 57,000 euros for annual scholarships for 18 athletes.
“We know well how sports help children achieve success in many areas of life and find new friends. We also understand that young athletes often cannot reach their potential, because professional sports require considerable investment. And unfortunately, parents, who are usually the main investors for their children, are not able to cover all their training costs. For three years of the Boost4Best project operation, we have supported 48 athletes with annual scholarships. “And we are happy to watch their success and feel proud,”— comments Katerina Biloruska, Chairwoman of the Parimatch Foundation.
One of the formats of the Foundation’s activities in 2022 was the integration of the “Sport Mentor” program in the “Elefthera Cheria” Program of afternoon leisure for teenagers offered by the Municipality of Limassol. This is an afternoon teen employment program that provides safe afternoon care for children from low-income families. This is both a healthy rest, and proper preparation for school, and fitness classes conducted twice a week in combination with self-defense and mixed martial arts.
In addition to this group, there are partnerships with municipalities in other cities of Cyprus, which also provide an opportunity for children from low-income families to play sports. Through the collaboration of the Parimatch Foundation and the ‘Nicosia Municipality Multifunctional Foundation’ children are enjoying Zumba and modern dance sessions twice a week.
Furthermore, the Parimatch Foundation, together with the Hope for Children Charity Foundation and the Galaxy Football Academy, has launched a new football sports group and children from the Hope for Children Shelter can attend football classes twice a week, as well as receive psychological assistance.
An important project that was implemented in 2022, with the expert support of the Children’s Commissioner in Cyprus, as well as NGO Peace Players, was the Guide on Children’s Rights, which helps the children learn their rights through the game of basketball. The Guide presentation was held in October with the participation of physical education teachers who received the necessary skills to provide accessible and understandable information about children’s rights.
SUPPORT TO UKRAINE
Since the beginning of the full-scale war in Ukraine, representatives of the Foundation in Cyprus have been supporting the program “Assistance to Ukraine”. They focused on the physical development and psychological adaptation of Ukrainian children who came to Cyprus in search of safety.
Thanks to the partnership of the Parimatch foundation with several sports academies on the island we managed to help more than 250 children from Ukraine (refugees) to have access to sports all over the island for free.
One important initiative was the summer camps developed for children from Ukraine in Cyprus. Our team in Cyprus has welcomed 60 children affected by the war in Ukraine. The Foundation has collaborated with a local partner ‘bySports’ and provided a sport’s themed summer camp to the children so it can support their physical and psychological rehabilitation.
Finally, in collaboration with the Ukrainian embassy, Parimatch Foundation has developed two new sports groups for children from Ukraine. Their official openings will be announced in 2023.
In 2023 we will continue to expand all projects and programs in Cyprus that the Foundation has already launched in the country. The goal also includes the expansion of partnerships and gaining expertise, through which we can implement new ideas for a healthy future for the island’s children.