“Sports is the optimal arena in which challenges can be met, victories can be won and in which self esteem will naturally grow regardless of the outcome.”
Given that much of the current efforts and models concerning integration fail to truly enable immigrants to connect with locals, a women`s football club holds the incentive to offer a novel approach to integration that is less presumptuous but more dynamic, organic and potent.
Research led Putz to a former, similar project by Melek Köse and Aytac Tuerkan, two mediators independently involved in several intercultural endeavors. After meeting them they decided to revive this mission together via the formation of a new football club, this time under the name FC Thallo, Thallo being (as one of the horae) the personification of spring as well as the goddess responsible for pullulation in Greek mythology. Sports is the optimal arena in which challenges can be met, victories can be won and in which self esteem will naturally grow regardless of the outcome. Setting the stage for the formation of a sports team can stabilise each individual and help in mastering personal challenges that one might encounter while settling in a new place. To help realise this project, Hanna Putz teamed up with unu O unu to participate in an exhibition in order to generate the funds needed for equipment and expenses.
The all female team, consisting of Austrians and immigrants from various countries like Afghanistan, Syria, Irak, Turkey, Somalia, Bosnia etc. will be training twice a week and the time invested in training will hopefully equip the women with either restored or strengthened belief in themselves and their abilities.
Unlike other clubs, FC Thallo will not charge a membership fee, so that everyone will be able to participate and it will be open for beginners as well as more advanced players. Expenses will be entirely covered by donations, needed for rent for the football pitch during summer and winter season, salary for the trainer, travel expenses for matches and all equipment. We hope to raise €8.000 – €10.000, which would suffice for approximately 12 months of training in total.
Text by Sandra Petrasevic