A delegation of Israeli soccer coaches recently arrived at a remote refugee camp in Cameroon that is home to refugee children who fled ongoing violence in the Central African Republic.
Equipped with soccer balls and nets, the coaches tried to spread the "gospel of soccer" among the camp's children, who are suffering from severe trauma as a result of the brutal war ravaging their country.
The project was initiated by the Israeli Embassy in Cameroon in cooperation with the "Mifalot Education and Society Enterprises" organization and a UN human rights organization.
Members of the organization conducted a series of training sessions and activities for the local children in an attempt to encourage the development of positive self-image and strengthen the refugees' sense of self-efficiency.
Over the course of two weeks, the coaches and embassy employees worked to fulfill their mission of using soccer as a tool for bringing the local refugee population closer together, while also using the game as a means of relieving stress and resolving conflict.
Israeli Ambassador to Cameroon, Nadav Cohen, said: "The idea for the project was born during my first visit to the refugee camp, when aid workers told us that the refugees wanted a television so that they could see the World Cup in Brazil.
"At that moment, I decided that if we would work in the refugee camp, I would try to bring the Mifalot organization, which I had been exposed to during my previous job at the office."
Tomer Marsland, a coach working with the organization, who was also part of the delegation, shared his experience: "The method of operation 'Mifalot' employs, according to which it uses sport as an educational tool, constitutes a breakthrough in Israel and in the international arena.
"The 'Mifalot Education and Society Enterprises' organization considers it a great privilege to be able to implement its method of operation around the world in the past six years and provide aid to various communities in different countries.
The cooperation between 'Mifalot' and the Israeli Embassy of Cameroon allows us to reach a unique community, export our extensive knowledge to those who need us and represent Israel with honor," Marsland added.