Football Bridges Divides in Al-Sawiri, Bekaa
“Football (soccer) washes out hate and prejudice”, said Mohammed Janbey, a football player from Al-Sawiri, while preparing himself for the game. “When you play, you forget about everything and only focus on the ball”, he added.
On Sunday, November 12, 2017, Mohammed and other players; after three months of intensive training; participated in a football match during the Al-Sawiri Football League, which was organized by the Al-Sawiri Youth and Sports Committee and in coordination with the municipality.
The Committee, supported by UNDP, as part of the mechanism for social stability (MSS), established the football team targeting the young generation of Al-Sawiri and aiming to bridge the gap between families from Al-Sawiri and the Lebanese and the Syrian refugees in the area, in addition to reflecting a good image of Al-Sawiri
Funded by Germany, this activity was implemented within the framework of the Lebanon Host Communities Support Programme LHSP, through the “Peace Building in Lebanon” project, and in partnership with NABAD Association for Development.
“There’s no activity that can bring people together with so much passion and enjoyment as much as football does”, said Mohamad, who came from Majdel Anjar to encourage his colleagues playing against the Al-Sawiri team. Mohammad Shuman, a committee member, couldn’t but agree with that. For him, “football can offer a healthy environment in which people can come together and show respect to one another, bridging divides and breaking down prejudice”. From this perspective, the committee decided to invite 3 Syrian players to join the team. He explained, “These players now feel empowered and part of a big team.”
On this football court, previously established by UNDP and perched on the highest hill of Al-Sawiri, few kilometers away from Syria, Al-Sawiri team won the game over Majdel Anjar football team. “Although we lost the game, we had fun, and we are looking forward to more games together”, said Emad Emam, a football player from Majdel Anjar.