Real integration through virtual gaming

By Audrey SomnardLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

What if integration was achieved through video games? This is the challenge taken up by Forward, which has received funding from the Ministry of Family Affairs. Young people in Differdange have started to benefit from this pilot project, the first of its kind in the country. Report.

In a country where almost half of the population is made up of foreigners, Luxembourg must succeed in its integration efforts, as its survival depends on it. Projects are multiplying, most of them based on a dense network of associations and sport is regularly put forward. The Forward company, which specialises in events and e-sports, has relied on video games to bring young people together. An innovative idea that appealed to the Ministry of Family Affairs, which put 750,000 euros on the table for seven integration projects, including Forward's.

What is it about? The idea is quite simple. A room with computers and controllers, a connection to access online video games and that's it. For Kevin Hoffmann, one of the directors of Forward, the idea is to "break down the technological barriers". If integration through sport already exists, he would like to see it happen with e-sport: "It's a new approach, which interested the ministry because we had never proposed such a project to them."

The project, entitled Fit4Gaming, is intended to be itinerant, and the ministry has asked that six municipalities successively host the project until December 2023. The city of Differdange was chosen to start. Not entirely by chance. Forward is based in the town and Kevin Hoffmann grew up there. For the alderman for Youth and Sport, Paulo Aguiar (déi gréng), Differdange had to host the project: "I was contacted by Kevin, I was immediately interested in the integration aspect. It's a project that aims at communication, meeting and integration. We want young people from Differdange who come from different backgrounds to meet each other, especially with the applicants for international protection (IPR). If the project is a success, the alderman intends to extend the experience after 23 January 2023, the supposed date of the project's move to the next municipality.

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