Children from the Middle East began playing football and learning new skills at the first Global Sport Fund camp, taking place in Jounieh, Lebanon, this week.
The kids, aged 12-15, represent seven countries in the region and come from diverse backgrounds. Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Secretary-General of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC), a GSF co-sponsor, visited the boys and girls on the pitch. The children talked to him about their love for the game. "Sports can do what politics cannot," said Sheik Al-Thani, "it can bring people together." And sports can have a positive influence on kids, keeping them away from "bad behaviour."
Mohamed Al-Mulla, representing the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, QOC partner on the GSF, welcomed the boys and girls to a camp that would give them the opportunity to learn about drugs and sport. "You will work and practice to discover the true meaning and spirit in sport, namely fair play, self-respect, balanced competition and self-control at all times," Al-Mulla said.
Besides playing on multinational teams, the boys and girls participating in the GSF football camp will spend time together in the classroom, where they will take lessons on ethics, camaraderie and fair play rules. Kids will also get information on the health risks linked to drug use. Their coaches will also be on hand to support the kids' development.