Grant #463

CHEERing STARS Soccer Teams and Refugee Solidarity

August 23, 2021

We Hope This Helps Some Young Women In Refugee Camps Have A Little Fun.

The Malakasa Refugee Camp in Greece is home-for-now to people from Afghanistan and a few other countries. It’s where CHEERing has been helping improve life for families with support for breastfeeding and nutrition through THE Center for Health, Equity, Education, and Research International Group (aka CHEERing). But what the young women really wanted was a chance to play soccer! (They call it “football,” as does most of the world)

The camp already has boys’ and men’s teams, but nothing for girls. Until now! One of CHEERing’s committed volunteers is a former Irish national league women’s footballer with a coaching license. She works with a female Afghani resident coordinator and her ex-pro footballer husband, who runs the camp boys’ teams.
The response has been overwhelming. The girls are practicing daily on an unshaded concrete court, many in the most inappropriate footwear (because it’s what they have), asking when the next coaching session will be.
The girls need the right shoes, not sandals, dads’ sneakers, or flip flops. And they need basic safety equipment like knee pads and shin guards.
We’re thrilled to help the girls launch their dream, becoming part of the Soccer Teams And Refugee Solidarity (STARS) roster.

Asked to choose a team name, they declared themselves the “Beautiful Girls.”

Our Awesome Without Borders grant will help buy equipment, safety gear, appropriate shoes for hard court sports, and basics for coaches like a whiteboard, a whistle, and that all-important first-aid kit.

This soccer team has become the thing that these girls hold on to – a place away from the challenges of daily life in a Greek refugee camp and at a time of wildfires and other international disasters.

THE Beautiful Girls will spend many hours playing the Beautiful Game, thinking in those moments only about the ball, the goal, the play.

Category: Community, Empowerment, Girls, Refugees, Sports, Youth



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders