No Safe Place to Play
Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, over 1.3 million Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon. They joined an existing Palestinian refugee population numbering in the hundreds of thousands, and have contributed to a refugee-to-host population ratio that is one of the highest in the world.
The needs of the Syrian refugees have only added to Lebanon’s long-term political and economic instability and have revived tensions and historic friction between Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians. As these groups compete for space, resources, and employment, the tension increases.
An Anera assessment revealed that youth are the main victims of the ongoing crisis and are at risk of long-term economic and educational disenfranchisement. They also sometimes resort to violence and are vulnerable to recruitment from gangs and violent groups.
In Palestine as well, youth need an outlet to cope with the many hardships they face. Their communities lack recreational facilities that allow young people to interact with one another, develop social skills of tolerance, and just have fun.
Using Sports to Teach Life Skills
For many years, Anera has integrated sports for peace and development into its youth programs in Palestinian refugee camps and areas with Syrian refugees and host Lebanese communities as a fun way to teach life skills while providing recreation for youth living under tense and challenging circumstances.
Anera has worked since the early 2010s on sports for peace programming in Lebanon. We use local football clubs and other sports activities to teach conflict-management and life skills as well as health and hygiene education to marginalized youth.
Anera offers sports courses, community sports days and tournaments for youth, aged 14-24, in partnership with local organizations. The program offers a range of sports courses, including basketball, football, yoga, swimming and aerobics for both boys and girls. Community culture is taken into consideration through mixed-gender and segregated activities. We also build and renovate sports facilities used by entire communities, including younger children.
Anera also repairs old and crumbling sports facilities so that young people in Gaza and in refugee communities in Lebanon have modern sports fields and safe places to play. In Gaza, we rehabilitated the Mosadar Sports Club and the Gaza Sports Club. And in Lebanon, we’ve renovated sports fields in places like the Beddawi Palestinian Refugee Camp.
How It Works
Anera's Sports Programming
Coaches learn to be agents of social change, teaching youths about conflict mediation, teamwork, leadership and empowerment.
Bringing Communities Together
Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian youth engage in integrated sports activities, tournaments and events, promoting positive cross-cultural and community engagement.
Through improving their sports skills and self-image, youths feel better about themselves.
Young women and girls get an opportunity to interact with their peers, learn skills and feel empowered in new ways.
Building Safe Spaces
New or renovated fields, courts and recreational buildings are safe spaces for youths to play and interact.
“Peace through Sport,” is a 24-month virtual exchange program uniting youth in Lebanon and the US to promote social cohesion and foster civic engagement through the lens of sports. This program is in collaboration with The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) and funded by the US Embassy in Lebanon.