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Football coach volunteered to help Syrian refugees

EAST LONDON football coach and humanitarian volunteer Emdad Rahman has spent a week with Sufian Refugees in Lebanon. The self-styled “Wandering Londoner” joined the UK-based Human Relief Foundation team on a charity deployment and spent time at various locations around Beirut.

Emdad was the only Londoner in the group and took part in food pack distribution to refugees at every camp visited. As it is Ramadan, there was also a special hot food distribution for those fasting at Arsal in Beirut.

At Barr Elias, Beirut, there were more food distributions, followed by gifts of toys being handed to every child in the camp. At both locations Emdad delivered football training sessions for youngsters. There were also short meetings with a large number of widows and orphans, as aid from donors was distributed to them.

The group had an intensive schedule, with most members opting to observe the Ramadan fast. The tour rounded off on the last day with a joint food pack distribution with French NGO Humani’Terre at the huge Palestinian refugee camp Bourj El Barajne in Lebanon.

Reflecting on his experiences, Emdad said, “Aside from food and essentials, these stricken people need serious mental health support in terms of counselling and therapy. I would encourage charities and NGOs to plan accordingly and develop a vision to support these people on a holistic level. These are displaced people who are severely traumatised. It’s wonderful that so many friends and family have supported this cause.

“I met orphans, widows, the disabled and mentally scarred youngsters. They may never recover from their trauma. I enjoyed working hard with the team and using football to bring about some smiles. I hope our work will encourage many more people to make a difference.

“I decided to keep fasting, and this heightened my awareness and empathy for those who are not only refugees but also those in our own neighbourhoods who are struggling with life’s challenges.”

Launched in 1991, the Human Relief Foundation (HRF) seeks to promote sustainable economic and social development by working with local communities through relief and developmental programmes, supporting them to build a better life and find their own solutions to global problems. For more information about HRF, go to:

•Read more about it:
Homeward bound (Emdad’s Lebanon Diary, Day4)
Ramadan suspended as bombs rain on Idlib

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