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Saif's story: finding peace on a football pitch

When 12-year-old Saif had to flee violence and restart his life, he finally found solace at a football club.

Saif stands with a football in a street in Beirut, Lebanon. Credit: Ruth Towell/Tearfund

A child fighting to survive

Saif longed to return to Syria. Having fled his home due to the conflict, he had arrived in Lebanon with nothing. Saif felt scared and angry. In order to survive, he had to start working at just 12 years old. Saif is just one of 1.5 million refugees currently living in Lebanon.

A children’s football team in Lebanon, Play for Peace, train together. Credit: Ruth Towell/Tearfund

A children’s football team in Lebanon, Play for Peace, train together. Credit: Ruth Towell/Tearfund.

A sporting chance

A keen footballer, Saif found Play for Peace, a project run by one of Tearfund’s partners. It brings children from all backgrounds together on and off the pitch, transforming lives by teaching forgiveness, reconciliation and non-violence. They welcomed and accepted Saif.

Play for Peace gives young refugees, like Saif, a place to belong. Credit: Ruth Towell/Tearfund

Play for Peace gives young refugees, like Saif, a place to belong. Credit: Ruth Towell/Tearfund.

Childhood restored

‘If I return to Syria and become a football coach there, I will teach my players to live with peace,’ says Saif. Tearfund’s partner, The Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation (FFR), is giving people like Saif their childhood back, while also offering the chance of a brighter future.

A child walks through an informal refugee settlement in Beirut, Lebanon. Credit: Ruth Towell/Tearfund

A child walks through an informal refugee settlement in Beirut, Lebanon. Credit: Ruth Towell/Tearfund.

Playing for peace

Children like Saif have experienced horrors that we can scarcely imagine. But programmes like those of FFR are helping them to recover and move on in positive ways. By supporting this work, you can help leave a legacy of peace for future generations. Please stand with children like Saif by setting up a monthly gift today.

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