03 Nov 4 Ways Football Is Helping Syrian Refugees
Football has done something to be proud of. While the sport’s governing body remains in the shadows, football clubs across the world are coming together to help support Syrian refugees during the largest humanitarian disaster since the Second World War.
Germany leads the way
Bayern Munich’s response has been unprecedented in Germany’s effort to provide “financial, material and practical help”. The Bundesliga champions have worked to provide free food, German language courses, football kits and training camps while pledging to donate a million pounds to the refugee projects in the city. The funds are to be generated from a friendly match against Egyptian club Al-Ahly and will be played in Germany.
Football clubs Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen, Fortuna Düsseldorf, Freiburg, Dynamo Dresden, as well as the German national team, are all playing their part in an effort to help. Borussia Dortmund invited 220 refugees to attend a Europa League game against Norwegian side Odds Ballklubb.
English football steps up
English football clubs have also been involved, with Arsenal raising funds by donating £1 from every ticket sold from the September game against Stoke City to support Syrian refugees. Premier League clubs agreed to help Save the Children, one of our partner charities, to send out messages to encourage support.
Fans of Aston Villa, Newcastle United, Norwich City, Charlton Athletic, Swindon Town, AFC Wimbledon and Plymouth Argyle celebrated “English Football League Day of Solidarity” on 12th of September. Non-league football clubs also joined in on the action with Bath City, FC United, Clapton and Dulwich Hamlet (“London’s most hipster football club”) showing their support for Syrian refugees.
Yorkshire St Pauli, a small but dedicated group of football fans, originally met through their love of the Hamburg-based club, St Pauli. They have since organised various football-related events with refugees and asylum seekers already in the UK with their Football for All project.
Real Madrid also joined the drive to help the refugee crisis by announcing they will donate £735,000 to support projects in Spain. Osama Abdul Mohsen, who made headlines when a Hungarian camerawoman tripped him, was invited to hangout with Real Madrid staff and players, including Cristiano Ronaldo.
Mohsen, who was a former first-division football coach in Syria, moved his family to Spain, after which Cenafe, Spain’s national training centre for soccer coaches, offered him a job. While living in Syria he coached Syrian side Al-Fotuwa SC and once he learns Spanish he will be given a chance to work with local team Getafe CF.
Football as an escape from the trauma of war
Football has been very successful in Syria’s bordering countries, helping young people deal with the trauma of conflict. Along with other NGOs, Scottish-based charity Mercy Corps has funded a football pitch and community centre in Jordan’s Mufraq Camp to resolve some of the tensions resulting from the huge influx of Syrian refugees into the country.
About 1,000 children are also enrolled in a football programme at Jordan’s Za’taari Refugee Camp, now one of the largest cities in Jordan. The Asian Football Development Project created the programme in conjunction with the UEFA to support Syrian refugees living in the camp.
The humanitarianism of the football clubs and organisations mentioned in this list is testament to football’s true power.
Help for Syria is an online community that aims to show how you can change the lives of Syrian refugees by supporting professional charities. We have partnered with a broad range of trusted charities for you at http://bit.ly/HFSCharity
We have also written a series of blogs about the work that UK charities are doing to making a difference and provide humanitarian assistance to those people who need it the most. Read our latest blog at http://bit.ly/HFSBlog
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