For young girls in Beddawi refugee camp, a sports tournament is more than just watching boys playing matches.
Anera has designed an innovative sports program to use athletics as a tool for gender inclusion, conflict resolution and community development. After completely rehabilitating Beddawi’s soccer field, Anera continues to organize tournaments and practices for youth to play soccer and other sports with professional coaches. An emphasis on bridging gender gaps ensures young girls get an opportunity to play together, too—a rarity in many communities.
Recently, a photographer from Germany, Anthea Schaap, visited the camp to take some unique photos of the girls that play soccer in Beddawi.
Meet Loulou Abdul Razak, 17
Loulou is known as “Super Girl.” Loulou Abdul Razak, 17, is in 12th grade at Banasira School in Beddawi, a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon. She is passionate about soccer and delighted that Anera built a soccer field in the camp.
“Now, with the new field, my friends and I have a safe place to play. My teammates call me ‘Super Girl’ because I’m a fast runner and I’m always urging the team on. I help them learn new tricks. I think this is how we improve and move forward.”
My teammates call me ‘Super Girl’ because I’m a fast runner and I’m always urging the team on.
Meet Marwa Al Marzouk, 14
Marwa was only eight years old when she started playing soccer with boys from her neighborhood in Beddawi. Marwa is now 14 and a seventh grader at Al Ramleh school in the camp. She says soccer is an “international language that transcends religion, community or nationality.”
[Soccer] is an international language that transcends religion, community or nationality.
Her dream is to join the national Palestinian soccer team.“I think joining the national Palestinian team for girls would let me introduce the Palestinian cause to millions of people around the world who don’t even know where Palestine is on a map.”
Meet Nisreen Abdul Kader, 16
Nisreen studies at North Technical School in Al Zahriyeh, Tripoli, the largest city in northern Lebanon. The 11th grader explains how exciting it is to play soccer after many years of being denied the opportunity. “At school, we never had access to a soccer field,” she explains. “Soccer was only a boys’ game and they used to tease us all the time. Girls were always on the benches cheering and watching tournaments.”
Nisreen’s first experience playing coincided with the opening of the Beddawi field. “Coaches started coming to the camp to organize matches between girls’ teams and it was so much fun,” Nisreen said. Nisreen’s dream? To become a professional soccer player, of course.