Freeport of Riga Authority – Ghetto Games street sports and culture movement

The Freeport of Riga Authority acts as a socially responsible entity and integral part of the Latvian society in order to build the port as a socially responsible entity and a good neighbor. Working in partnership with Street sports and culture movement “Ghetto Games”, Freeport of Riga Authority started cooperation within street sports and culture events for positive development of disregarded areas and society.

Ghetto Games started street sports and culture activities in 2009, when the economic crisis hit Latvia very hard. A group of young people decided to gather together and develop a street sports and culture activities place in one of the most unfavorable areas in Riga, Grizinkalns. In this place everyone could come and practice sports and lifestyle activities, that most of the young people are interested in: streetball, street football, street dance, skateboard, BMX, inline skating, floorball, pancration, hip-hop music, Ghetto Media House with online broadcasts in YT (Ghetto TV) and documentaries production.

Nowadays, Ghetto Games youth non-governmental organization is the largest street sports and culture movement in Eastern Europe and each year its activities involve 10 000 participants, around 200 volunteers aged from 13 to 25 years and over 250 000 young people in social media. Ghetto Games has spread this movement abroad and went beyond the borders of Latvia.

In January 2017 a Ghetto Games team working with local organizations, activists and youth carried out a streetball tournament and street dance event in one of the disregarded areas in Manila, Philippines. In 2021 Ghetto Games started activities in Tbilisi, Georgia with Ghetto Football tournaments. And in 2022 Ghetto Games will kick off its first street football “Ghetto Football Euroleague” with international street-football tournaments in 11 EU capital cities. Furthermore, in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the Latvian team consisting of Ghetto Basketball players won the gold metal in 3×3 basketball discipline for the first time. This gave great recognition for the Ghetto Games movement as a platform for young people to get inspired and be engaged into street sports.

The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes “the growing contribution of sport to the realization of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives”. The example of Freeport of Riga Authority social corporate responsibility program to support street sports and culture activities empowers disregarded areas and society groups, and contributes significantly to reduce all forms of violence.