Helping exiles with social integration: meet the Kabubu association

Updated on 04/06/2024
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Members of the Kabubu association warm up.
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Simoné Etna, co-director of Kabubu, an association helping exiles with social integration through sports in France, answers three questions around its activities and development. He's counting on the Paris 2024 Games to win over more of the female public.
The Kabubu association was founded in 2018, this year, it won the Paris Sportives et Talents award. The word Kabubu means "friendship through sport" in Swahili. The association's aims are to promote the social and professional inclusion of exiled people, through sport. We meet up with Simoné Etna, the association's co-director.
Simoné Etna, co-director of Kabubu, welcomed us to his association's offices at 24 quai d'Austerlitz, 75013.

What does Kabubu do?

Simoné Etna: The association's actions can be broken down into several areas. The main one aims to create social links through sports sessions between people we define as "locals" and exiles. They are open to all, and free of charge. There are around fifteen weekly activities in Paris, some of which are aimed exclusively at women.
Other priorities include the creation of social links in the form of specific programs, like entertainment.
We also have a professional training mission. We have been a training organization since 2020, with the aim of training exiles legally welcomed in France.
The final area is raising awareness around immigration.
Among the measures and plans, we have a City of Paris supported program as part of Paris Tous en Jeux, called Splash. It's a lifeguard training course. Over the last two years, we've been able to train sixteen people.

What sort of challenges do you face?

We're always on the lookout for financial support to enable us to develop and continue doing what we do. We face a number of obstacles, from gaining access to certain rights, to the lack of slots and spaces in which to practice. The language barrier can also be a problem.
The association continually needs to adapt to meet these challenges. The people who come to us need to be given maximum support for long-term integration.

What kind of opportunities can the Paris 2024 Games bring?

We're not the only ones trying to bring social inclusion through sport. We're part of "Terrains d'Avenir", a group of six similar structures. The challenge is to expand interest in what we do once the Olympic and Paralympic Games are over. We'll be continuing to promote our training courses, particularly in sports and entertainment professions.
Our challenge is to reach out to more and more to women. The difficulty lies in attracting more women to sporting activities. We invest a great deal of energy into attracting women into our scheme with sports initiations or dedicated programs.
Eventually, we'd like to set up an inclusive sports center in Paris, bringing together support services, training and non-discriminatory sports activities.
Kabubu in figures
3 branches in Paris, Lyon and Strasbourg.
2,400 people took part in activities in the three areas in 2022.
2 mixed 7-a-side soccer teams and one club affiliated to the French Boxing Federation.