Beirut Parc – Kids Seeking Refuge in Football

DW Transtel | 88 4886
1 x 60 min

The little boys and girls proudly pull on their new soccer boots and, seconds later, they’re out on the field to train together. Many have experienced terrible things as refugees and live in a precarious situation in a new country. But here on the soccer pitch, they can forget about their worries for a few hours. Their laughter rings out over the field and, after scoring a goal, they all hug each other, regardless of where they come from, whether they’re refugees or were born here. And where is this wonderful place? In the Lebanese capital Beirut. And the kids are taking part in ‘Soccer Camp Lebanon’.
Lebanon has more refugees relative to the size of its population than any other country. Here Syrian refugees live alongside Lebanese locals and Palestinian refugees who were forced to leave their homes decades ago – sometimes in close proximity. This has created a volatile situation that requires a variety of strategies to build tolerance and mutual trust if social conflict is to be avoided.
‘Soccer Camp Lebanon’, a nationwide tournament for children and young people, is an initiative of Germany’s Goethe Institute and coaches at a local soccer school. Based on faith in the conciliatory power of soccer, it gives 900 youngsters from Beirut and three other Lebanese cities the chance to play soccer together, to escape from their everyday lives and gain new perspectives in the process. At training sessions in mixed teams – boys and girls from Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian families – and a closing tournament, the children have the opportunity to explore their cultural and social commonalities and differences.
Beirut Parc – Kids Seeking Refuge in Football observes the young people and explores the impact of the soccer camp on their daily lives. The program provides an insight into how the youngsters and their families live in Lebanon – either as locals or refugees – and what role soccer can play in developing new perspectives and the foundation for a peaceful coexistence.

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