In February 2022 CamCRAG gave £1,000 to CHEERing STARS, a project to promote womens’ soccer and other activities in Malakasa, north of Athens. CHEERing is a Greek-registered NGO dedicated to improving maternal and child health in refugee populations. They have recently provided the following report on their current activites.
CHEERing has been coaching football in Malakasa since the summer of 2021, and now organises girls’ football sessions three times per week: twice in Malakasa and once in Athens, with 44 participants aged between 6 and 18. Football Fit is a ‘wraparound’ pilot programme with the aim of bringing a health and nutrition element to the girls’ groups, funded through a grant from forRefugees.
This funding allowed us to provide nutrition sessions for the girls, which we augmented with hands on cooking and gentle forays into discussions about the menstrual cycle, with distribution of sanitary products for adolescents.
We held weekly sessions in March and April, with an average attendance of 20 to 30 girls between 6 and 22. One highlight was a ‘sugar free banana pancakes (and popcorn)’ session where we worked on making sugar free snacks and pancakes with healthy ingredients. Of the 26 girls who attended, many had already cooked popcorn, but for most it was the first time they were cooking pancakes with only 3 ingredients: banana, oats and eggs.
The most popular dishes were an Iraqi pasta dish and a beef and lentil dish from Afghanistan. We did have a few problems with power outages but fortunately none long enough to sabotage the cooking.