TEHRAN – Shouting out ‘kocialoo’ – the local equivalent of ‘cheese’ in the south-western district of Tehran – never fails to draw a laugh from the children at Inter Campus Iran.

The kids speak Dari, a variety of Persian, and are all refugees or children of refugees from Afghanistan. They live close by and, once school is over, often help their families in the typical jobs done by immigrants, like cleaning, sweeping the roads and manual labour.

However, at least two afternoons a week, these youngsters are allowed to be children, as they don the Inter shirt and enjoy playing football.

Our partner, the Popli Khalatbari Foundation, takes care of them, their education and various other necessary things, like integrating them into society. As we have seen countless times during these years, football is shown as the best tool for breaking down barriers and helping the mental, physical and academic development of the children.

Our coaches Alberto and Roberto spent three days of training, games and fun with the 80 kids, overseen by local contacts Laila Amin and Hooman Kazemnia, and the coaches Hadi and Nazzer.

We’ll be back in autumn, bringing new kits and training programmes, because this country and its children are by now an integral part of Inter Campus.

See you soon, Tehran!