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LA-based NGO to establish soccer academies along Armenia/Artsakh border

The Aurora for Artsakh program has awarded iACT funding to implement refugee football academies for the children of Artsakh


LOS ANGELES, CA, USA | June 28, 2021 — Hermosa Beach-based iACT, in partnership with Girls of Armenia Leadership Soccer (GOALS), will establish several soccer academies to support the social and emotional wellbeing of children and youth affected by war in Artsakh, also known as Nagorno Karabakh, a self-declared country backed by the Armenian government. After a six-week war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, some who fled the violence have returned to Nagorno Karabakh while others remain near the border. Focused on supporting and uplifting the situation in Artsakh, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative’s Aurora for Artsakh program will be funding 50% of this new project. iACT is committed to securing the remaining amount needed to train, hire, and support coaches to provide a safe place for displaced youth to play, learn, and heal.


The Aurora for Artsakh program was established through the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative — an organization that addresses compelling humanitarian issues through direct service to those in need. Gabriel Stauring, Founder and Chief of Vision and Strategy at iACT, was a finalist for the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, an award that recognizes and supports an individual who risks their own life to help victims of a mass atrocity. Stauring has launched 11 Refugees United Soccer Academies that have supported more than 24,000 youth living in refugee camps in Chad, Cameroon, and Tanzania. GOALS has established soccer leagues for girls in over eight regions in Armenia, helping to bridge the gender gap of female participation in sports. Together they will launch GOALS Academy powered by the Refugees United Soccer Academy.


Stauring says, “We feel deep gratitude for the opportunity that the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is providing for iACT to work with individuals and communities directly affected by the recent war in Artsakh. Football, together with a mindful-peace curriculum, can create magical spaces where children can heal and thrive. This partnership with Aurora and GOALS is hope and gratitude in action.”


Teny Avakian, CEO of GOALS, shares this message, “With each community we impact, with each team we create, we take one step closer to providing a possible alternate future for #everygirl.”

Both GOALS and iACT are UEFA Foundation for Children grantees and will use their extensive experience in lead