THE LA LIGA | ZA’ATARI SOCIAL PROJECT
Our existing programme of work in Za’atari refugee camp has been strengthened by AFDP Global’s partnership with LaLiga. For the first time, relationships are being forged between LaLiga’s elite clubs and teams of young refugees.
This collaboration began in September 2018, when two LaLiga staff, Javier García and Izzat Jandali, started to work in the camp full-time. The focus at that stage was to map out where and how coach education and youth football could reach young people who were not engaged with existing football programmes in Za’atari.
The result was the initiation of a coaching programme based around key principles in child psychology and development. Football is used as a tool to promote education, challenge inactivity and provide young people with motivation and purpose.
In the space of 10 months, this new coaching programme had successfully reached over 750 children in the camp, building the momentum for the official launch of the LaLiga | Za’atari Social Project in July 2019.
The LaLiga | Za’atari Social Project is being delivered in co-ordination with the LaLiga Sports Projects department, the LaLiga Foundation, 33 LaLiga Santander, LaLiga 1l2l3 and the Liga Iberdrola teams.
The centrepiece of the project is a first-of-its kind League Competition, which launched in September 2019 to connect the elite and grassroots game for the benefit of young refugees.
The competition is bringing the joy of competitive football to 16 U13 girls’ teams and 20 U15 boys’ teams, encouraging young players to bond as a team, learn key life skills and develop their resilience. This League Competition is a unifying force not only for the young players brought together on the pitch, but also for NGOs and organisations working with Za’atari’s youth.
At the heart of this unique competition is the relationship between the teams in Za’atari and LaLiga’s professional clubs. Each refugee team is twinned with a LaLiga club and the young players wear the colours of their LaLiga team with pride. In turn, each LaLiga club provides essential equipment to their respective team in Za’atari so that every child is able to take part in training and fixtures.
“Every activity in the LaLiga | Za’atari Social Project is adapted to the specific context of Za’atari, from the tournaments to the training sessions and courses. The inclusion of yoga and mindfulness techniques and exercises in the training sessions is especially useful. These can help control stress and anxiety, increase the ability to concentrate, foster creativity and improve interpersonal relationships.”
Javier García, LaLiga | Za’atari Social Project Co-ordinator
The LaLiga | Za’atari Social Project is continuing to grow, reaching more children and young people in Za’atari and providing them with a unique opportunity to thrive through football.