In an effort to help children at the Zaatari Refugee Camp let off some steam, the Brazilian embassy in Amman and Save the Children are holding a three-day football workshop at the camp later this month, organisers said.
A group of professional Brazilian coaches who initiated the project will volunteer at the Zaatari camp near Mafraq, 80km northeast of Amman, teaching 80 children and 20 coaches how to improve their football skills.
By including coaches in the workshop, the project ensures long-term sustainability, according to organisers.
The coaches will also lead a football workshop for Jordanian orphans in Amman, organisers said at a press conference earlier this week.
For José Antonio Mostacato, coach coordinator for the project, this is a personal issue. He said that football helped him step out of the miserable situation of living in Brazilian favelas or slums.
“Football changed my life,” he told reporters, adding that “the biggest stars came out of the worst situations”.
“If I did not start to play football, I don’t know what would have happened to me,” Mostacato said, noting that the sport teaches values like respect, teamwork and how to deal with a difficult situation.
“I want to show them: Look at me. I have been in the same situation and now I am here to teach you. This can be your way, too.”
Football does not have to be life transforming to be more than a sport, according to the partners involved in this project.
Brazilian Ambassador to Jordan Renate Stille said the workshop will be an “opportunity to bring back normality to those children”.
“We have to move from the battleground to the playground,” added Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children country director, who believes that sport is one of the easiest languages.
“It can become an important tool to prevent violence and demonstrate to the boys who participate that life is more than violence and wars.”