Encounter without words

Encounter Without Words translates the KICKFAIR concept of street football into a “picture language”. The goal is to use fewer words to make interactions between youth with different backgrounds easier (especially those with and without experiences of escape, as well as different religions and ethnicities). The project promotes shared learning and community engagement that creates peaceful coexistence in school and in the community.

The current reality is that there is little to no contact between students in regular classes and those in transfer, welcoming, or transition classes (classes for new students that emphasise learning German until students are ready to attend regular classes). This is the case despite the fact that they usually all attend the same school. There are many reasons for this. There are inhibitions and fears on both sides, but language barriers make interactions between the two groups more difficult. During regular school hours, it is often difficult to find space, time, and sufficient understandings to shape the interactions between these young people.


Encounter Without Words is building a bridge. The beginning and ending point is the street football, which brings young people from different backgrounds and origins together and puts them on the same level. Participants discuss their experiences on the pitch, as well as their different daily realities by using pictures, which requires no language skills. They include all of the elements of KICKFAIR’s street football method translated into visuals. This makes communication possible, allowing for participants to gain from the street football method by discussing their experiences through visual communication. Language is not an obstacle, which puts everyone on a level playing field.

In collaboration with the illustrator and intercultural coach Yorgos Konstantinou, KICKFAIR has developed a pattern for how the various elements of the street football approach can be translated into pictures. In addition to the standard concepts of street football (pitch, team, boys and girls, mediators instead of referees, dialogue zone, three halves, general rules, fair play rules, etc.), there are also pictures for the different roles and tasks associated with KICKFAIR’s street football method.


  • Project bases
    München I Ostfildern (Stuttgart)
  • Partner and Funder
    The creation of the picture cards and the accompanying brochure was supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation.