Football and Child RIghts

Using sports to unite and develop the coming generation.

Palestine Sports for Life (PS4L) bi-weekly holds safe spaces for children and youth to play sports. Within the sessions, PS4L professional life skills and sport trainers teach youth about human rights, health, and various sustainable development goals. On April 6th, PS4L Coach Yumon Masri directed a ‘Football and Child Right’ session for her students in Tulkarem (a city in Palestine). Within the session, Coach Yumon discussed the importance of attaining child rights in Palestine and highlighted the rights of all children as an informative session. The students discussed openly on what they define as child rights and formed a list of “Child Rights” which included safe upbringing, freedom of expression, and protection from violence. It was a needed session that connected sports to understanding all aspects of child rights. Throughout the session, Coach Yumon taught various life skills such as teamwork and interpersonal skills as a continued effort to develop their public speaking skills and confidence.

Among the students in the session were fellow ‘Sports for Life’ girl’s team players. Supported by The National Bank in Palestine, PS4L girl’s team will participate in the Street Child World Cup, which will be held in Qatar, Doha, in 2022. Sports for Life team will represent Palestine for the first time alongside 12 other international teams coming from India, Brazil, Bangladesh, Darfur, Bolivia, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Zimbabwe, and the United States. This tournament will highlight the importance of youth education, and provide a global platform for youths to discuss issues they face while also enjoying the game of football. This is the first time the State of Palestine has been selected to participate in such a notable and change-driven event. 

Alaa Taneeb: Proud Female Football Player

Alaa Taneeb: Proud Female Football Player

I grew up with four brothers who introduced me to the beauty of football. My love for football started from my childhood, at the age of 6. I did not know my love for football would lead me to pursue a career in football since society portrays football as a male sport. At the age of 13, it was my first time seeing a stadium, where my team and I playing a match and won first place. The stadium, the freedom, and the competitive game all made me realize that I need to always have football by my side. I applied to be a part of the Sports for Life team (founded by the NGO Palestine: Sports for Life), and I can say wholeheartedly that it was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. The organization and team allowed my love and passion for football to flourish.
At times, I felt held back by people’s words, their criticism, and bias expectations. I started getting caught up in what people thought of me and their beliefs. But I knew I had to change my thought pattern because this was going to destroy my light. I worked on my skills in football and focused on the positive outcomes that happened to me all because of football and my wonderful team. I chose to put my happiness first by choosing to pursue football and now looking back at it, I can say with full certainty that it was worth it.
The feelings I have while playing football makes me certain that it will be impossible for me to stop playing football.

Even if I have to go against the whole world I will still play football.

I am proud to be a female football player.

Aya Habayeb: Believing in oneself

Aya Habayeb: Believing in oneself

This is my story on how football proves nothing is impossible and that no obstacle stands in the way of dreams of fans in this game.

My football ambitions started when I began to participate in school football tournaments and played with my brothers at home. When my team became first place in the Schools Football League in 2018, it pushed me to participation in a football team in my city. This team was founded by Palestine: Sports for Life (PS4L). When I first trained with the team, I was warmly-welcomed and received words of affirmation from my coach. From the first day my couch was impressed with my speed, and throughout the years my skills have only improved through my coach is keen eye in identifying which skills to develop on. Not only has my skills improved over the years but the game of football developed my personality and taught me about life. Through the motivation I gained from my PS4L team, COVID-19 did not hinder my ambitions, I took this opportunity to develop my skills in football.

I have to say, I faced some backlash since I was not conforming to societies expectations in girls not playing sports. But through these difficulties I proved myself through my capabilities when me and the team participated in the 11th Football League. I wanted to show my skills and I did, by scoring multiple goals and distinguishing myself on the field. After two years, I am proud to see where I have come in terms of my skills. I will work now and in the future to become a player in the Palestinian women’s national team and a player in one of the biggest football names in the women leagues.

Souad Alqam’s Journey: Women in Sports ‎

Souad Alqam’s Journey: Women in Sports ‎

“I see sports as a way of life and a form of self-discipline. Football is not only a game but a distinction towards self-confidence.”

My journey towards sports started from a young age. I grew up in a family that loves sports. During my school years, I was part of the school’s table tennis and volleyball team along with my twin sister. In 2010, it was a game-changer year for me. It was the year where I was introduced to football and found myself completely captivated and ambitious towards the sport. Through the Female Club for Football, in Palestine, a women’s team was formed which I was so proudly to be a part of. It was the first women’s football team in the district of Hebron, Palestine.

I later on became a football coach for the under 14 (U14) and under 17 (U17) years old female teams. When I became a coach, I saw how my students developed and started to create new goals for themselves. Through Palestine: Sports for Life (PS4L), I learned how to use sports to develop and teach life-skills for youth. It was a major growth point for me as a coach, since the programs and workshops presented by the NGO provided a way for me to send a specific message through sport. I currently am associated with numerous associations and federations, and am grateful on the role I play through these institutions. As a member, my work focused on making an inclusive environment for different age groups, while focusing on letting more girls participate in sports.