Using Football to Find a Future

14 Aug
A soccer tournament in the Za’atari refugee camp, complete with donated Brazil jerseys.

A soccer tournament in the Za’atari refugee camp, complete with donated Brazil jerseys.

FIFA recently visited Jordan and the Zaatari refugee camp to capture how football is bringing hope to hundreds of displaced young Syrian children there.

 

These children have endured so much in their lives already, beyond what we can likely even imagine. And according to FIFA,

In response to their plight, the Jordanian Football Association (JFA) is using the sport in a bid to bring them hope for the future.

JFA President and FIFA Vice-President HRH Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein is the man behind the Asian Football Development Project (AFDP), an independent organisation that aims to improve the quality of football across the continent and which is now taking steps to put its plans into action.

What really struck me from the video was Spirit of Soccer representative Scotty Lee’s comment:

But the most important thing is to really push home that when you go back, now you’re going to prepare to be a great footballer but you’re going to have to be really really careful about being safe. So not only when you’re training and you want to be the next striker for Syria, and go play for Real Madrid or Barcelona…You’re going to work just as hard to stay alive. You’ve survived the war and now you’ve got to survive the peace.

Tears.

It also reminded me of the football tournament Oxfam outreach workers organized for young boys around the Palestinian refugee camp of Baqa’a this past June. Refugees from both the Syrian and Palestinian communities as well as from the local Jordanian community participated in the tournament.

According to Oxfam, “[g]iving them the chance to run, compete, and talk provides much needed relief from the pressure of the divided adult world around them. No matter which team won, all children had a smile on their face at the end of the day.”

There is also a great article in the Washington Post covering both initiatives.

-hopechaser

One Response to “Using Football to Find a Future”

  1. Christine August 16, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    This is awesome, kids need a chance to be kids.

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