Inauguration of the Za’atari House of Sports

UEFA Foundation for Children expands its assistance for refugees

A major project financed by the UEFA Foundation for Children has reached fruition today with the inauguration of the House of Sports at the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan.

The House of Sports, constructed inside the camp, will provide a single umbrella facility for all sports activities there. The venue was officially opened in the presence of representatives of the Asian Football Development Project (AFDP), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UEFA Foundation for Children, and French former international footballer Christian Karembeu.

Prince Ali bin Hussein, AFDP founder, declared: “Every child deserves a nurturing environment, and the displaced children of Syria are no exception. Today, we dedicate to thousands of young refugees a healthy and vibrant space and the necessary tools for engaging in activities that can brighten up their day and, hopefully, their future as well. I wholeheartedly thank the UEFA Foundation for Children for supporting the Asian Football Development Project’s efforts for social change, and for keeping the spark of hope alive among children through football since the opening of the Za’atari refugee camp in 2012.”

“This is an important milestone within our projects at the Za’atari camp,” said Pascal Torres, UEFA Foundation for Children general secretary. “When the foundation decides to finance a project, an important goal is to ensure the continuity of the benefits for the children. Since 2013, men and women have received training to become football coaches and, today, we are inaugurating facilities that will enable all the children in the camp who wish to play sport to do so in a safe environment.”

The UEFA Foundation for Children will now expand its activities in local host communities in Jordan, which are home to many child refugees from Syria and other countries in conflict. The aim of this new initiative is to reinforce the work with Jordanian children and child refugees through socio-educational and sports projects, in particular football. This initiative is being undertaken in collaboration with the Jordanian ministry of education, and will be implemented in 12 schools across the country, with some 15,000 children expected to benefit.

Norman Darmanin Demajo, a member of the foundation’s board of trustees and president of the Malta Football Association, made the trip to the Za’atari camp. “I am very happy to be in Za’atari to see all the work that is being done with children at the camp, and to discover the positive impact that sport has on their daily lives,” he said. “The House of Sports that has been inaugurated today is a major sustainability asset. The foundation will extend its work outside the camp to include local schools in Jordan, with the support of the Jordanian authorities. Through its programmes, the UEFA Foundation for Children aims to address the grassroots of poverty and suffering.”