The FA and Syria Relief, the UK’s largest Syria-focused charity, have teamed up to help donate over 3,000 items of kit to Syrian children living in extreme poverty in refugee camps on the Lebanese border with Syria. The Syria Relief project is called #TackleChildPoverty.
We donated over 3,000 items of England kit and Syria Relief distributed the items inside refugee camps in the Beqaa Valley region of Lebanon. Syria Relief also arranged for former Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint Germain footballer Mohamed Sissoko and for a team of FA-qualified coaches to give children in the camps football training sessions with the new kit.
Edleen John, our Director of International Relations, Corporate Affairs and Co-partner for EDI, said: "We were delighted to partner with Syria Relief to provide this kit and equipment to children who we hope will truly benefit from it and enjoy it. While we cannot control the challenging life circumstances for refugees, we do know how much joy football brings to millions of people around the world. We believe that our game is truly for all, so we hope that even the small gift of a shirt can make a difference to how people feel on and off the pitch.
"Football can play a part in helping to improve the lives of refugees, as we have found in our ongoing efforts to increase refugee women's participation in grassroots football within England. Our thanks go to Syria Relief for showing how our game can be a force for good and help to improve the lives of people around the world."
Othman Moqbel, Chief Executive Officer of Syria Relief, said: "Football is a universal language that brings billions together and spreads hope and joy. It has been a huge honour to team with The FA and Momo Sissoko to donate football kit and equipment to Syrian refugee children living in tents on the Lebanese border with Syria, as well as providing some warm clothes and fun for children living in extreme poverty.
"This isn’t just giving children high quality clothes, severely needed in the winter months, and fun they’ll never forget, but it is also helping tackle mental health issues such as trauma. A study we did earlier this year found that 74% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon had symptoms compatible with PTSD. Recreational activity and exercise are proven to improve mental health.
"We are so thankful for The FA who have so kindly donated 3,000 items of England kit. Children in the camps love football and most here now have a new favourite national team – England. The FA’s desire to use their resources to help people living off around 70p to £1.20 a day is admirable and they’re an institution the country can be proud of.
"All of the children and the parents here have said how much they are loving this initiative. The joy we are seeing on the faces of children, when they get a brand new England kit, donated by The FA, and getting to enjoy a game of football with a legend of the game like Momo Sissoko and FA qualified coaches, is extraordinary."
For more information about the #TackleChildPoverty campaign, please visit https://syriarelief.org.uk/appeals/tackle-child-poverty