Posted on October 28, 2018

Education Above All (EAA) Foundation, through its programme Reach Out To Asia (ROTA), celebrated, the completion of ROTA’s project “Empowering Palestinian Refugee Children and Youth through Sports in Lebanon”, by refurbishing sports facilities and implementing training programmes in three Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

The project “Empowering Palestinian Refugee Children and Youth through Sports in Lebanon” was launched last year with the aim of restoring sports facilities and initiating a training project for the benefit of Palestinian refugee youth inEl-Buss camp, MiehMieh Camp, and Nahr el-Bared Camp, which all suffered from severe conditions of poverty, negligence and poor infrastructure. Before the completion of the ROTA’s initiative, young people living in these refugee camps had limited access to safe sporting grounds and recreational activities, owing to the fact that the voluntary community-based sports clubs were not sufficiently equipped or supported.

A field visit on October 26th and 27th was conducted by ROTA’s Executive Director Mr. Essa Al Mannai and ROTA’s goodwill Ambassador Mr. Ghanim Al Muftah, who carried on several visits to three Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and inaugurated the revamped sports fields and facilities. Ghanim Al Muftah, played a major role in the successful implementation and execution of the refurbishment of the playfields and the call for informal education for the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. After a visit to the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr El-Bared in 2015, he led a campaign to secure one million to finance the project. Thanks to his efforts, the needed funds were collected giving hope to thousands of Palestinian children.

Commenting on this occasion, Mr. Essa Al Mannai, Executive Director of ROTA Programme, said: “We, in EAA, are committed to providing high quality and relevant primary and secondary education, encouraging relationships amongst communities, creating safe learning environments and restoring education in crisis affected areas across Asia and around the world.  We envision a world, where all young people have access to the education they need in order for them to realise their full potential and shape the development of their communities. In like manner, we recognise sports as a vital tool to concretise our vision of the world, and provide marginalised youth with access to non-formal education and training. The Empowering Palestinian Refugee Children and Youth through Sports in Lebanon is an essential step to achieving our mission of building the leaders of tomorrow and showcasing thesignificant power of sports, as well as the massive impact we can bring to the lives of youth and their communities.”

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The initiative, launched in collaboration with the American Near East Refugee Agency (ANERA), provides more than 4,000 Palestinian refugee youth with upgraded sporting facilities, equipment and activities, which will subsequently support their personal development, improved awareness and life skills, social integration, and healthy living. Aside from the refurbishment of playfields, the project also provides training courses for 45 sports trainers with an aim to enhance their coaching and life skills, to engage Palestinian youth in sporting tournaments and learning courses.

From his part, Mr. Ghanim Al Muftah, ROTA’s goodwill Ambassador, said: “I am both humbled and proud to be speaking as the goodwill ambassador of Reach Out to Asia, a position that carries both great responsibility and consciousness. I am very much aware of the difficulties that thousands of children endure, which I have witnessed in my visit to the Palestinian refugee camps. I therefore stress and accentuate on the importance and relevance of our project, (Empowering Palestinian Refugee Children and Youth through Sports in Lebanon). It is crucial that we help the Palestinian refugee youth to improve their lives and actively make a change in their communities. It is a way for the youth to let go of all the hardships they have endured and suffered from on one hand, and look onto a brighter and limitless prospect on the other.”

EAA believes in the essential role of sports in developing the youth’s skills, helping them build their self-confidence, embrace sport spirit, and work collectively in teams.Sport provides a solid foundation for holistic learning, promotes self-development, creates a sense of belonging and helps youth feel socially integrated and connected to their community. This project is a major stepping stone in rehabilitating a community and redirecting it toward cohesion and prosperity, by implementing the notion of togetherness within the camps, and using the power of sport and informal education to shape the future leaders of tomorrow.