How the beautiful game has found a beautiful role in Lebanon: building peace and community in place of division and suspicion.
Ramy is used to playing the peacemaker. He’s the director of Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon (FFRL), who partner with Tearfund here. The foundation is trying to find ways to deal with the anger and frustration felt by many of the 1.5 million people who have settled in Lebanon, fleeing violence in Syria.
Ramy’s latest challenge is to calm someone he’s working with. The coach of the FFRL football team is on the phone and isn’t happy. He’s furious at how his team have been discriminated against at a recent soccer tournament. The coach told Ramy he wanted to ‘set fire to the playing field’.
A way in
Towards the end of 2018, FFRL launched the Play for peace initiative. It helps young refugees to manage their anger and overcome the tensions between them and local communities. They are a team trained in conflict resolution as well as keeping on the right side of the offside rule.