We’re all enjoying watching the Lionesses storming the women’s euros – but they aren’t the only women breaking down barriers in football. Girls at Azraq refugee camp in Jordan are using football to #ChangeTheStory for themselves and their teammates.
CARE International works at Azraq – a purpose-built refugee camp in the Jordanian desert – to meet the needs of an estimated 35,000 refugees that have fled from Syria. It’s vitally important for the emotional and physical welfare of girls like Israa, Ghazal and Raghad that they can access activities such as football and other sports.
Until recently, only boys and men at the camp could take part in football training. But the girls were determined to play and asked CARE staff to create a secure and safe environment for them to train in. The CARE Jordan team is now running daily sessions for the girls, run by a female CARE volunteer. Girls at the camp are welcome to come along and join in whenever they want to.
Israa, who is 12, fled from Syria with her family and recently joined the football sessions. She says:
I am the youngest sister in the house, and I never played soccer before, I felt so happy and excited when I kicked the ball for the first time ever on the field, after joining the soccer team I have learned so much and I made a lot of friends. This team is like my second family.”
Ghazal, 11, and her 12-year-old sister Raghad, also from Syria, joined the team together. Ghazal says:
We used to play on the streets but now we have our own soccer field at CARE community centre. I am so happy that we have a nice field and a coach to instruct us in a professional way. Football makes me happy, I feel like I have a hobby that I truly enjoy.”
Raghad wants to show the world that it’s not just boys who can play football:
I love watching soccer matches on TV, we used to watch the boys play soccer on the streets then my cousins and I decided to buy our own soccer ball and started playing together in the camp. I want to be a professional player and show everyone that girls can also play soccer and are even better at soccer than some boys.”
It’s time to #ChangeTheStory and recognise and celebrate women’s sporting achievements. The Lionesses are doing an amazing job of inspiring young girls all around the world to get involved in football and show what they can do. And maybe one day we’ll be watching Israa, Ghazal or Raghad represent their own country on the football field.
CARE is working with Wikimedia UK and Women In Red to #ChangeTheStory on women’s representation, so girls like Israa, Ghazal and Raghad can see women and girls’ accomplishments celebrated and be inspired to fulfil their potential. When you change the story about women, you change the story for women. Find out more about how you can help #ChangeTheStory for women and girls.