Initiative led by Brazilian Adventists seeks to support newcomers’ wellbeing.
On the Lebanon-Syria border, more than two million refugees are trying to start life again after escaping war and destruction. After losing everything, including family members, they gradually try to dream again. To feed these millions of dreams and build opportunities, a group of Brazilian volunteers went to Lebanon to bring education and hope through activities like soccer.
“Winners – Play for Life” is an initiative that seeks to promote the physical, intellectual, social, and emotional development of Lebanese and Syrian refugees in the city of Majdal Aanjar, Lebanon. Currently, the project has eight employees, who work in different areas such as management, education, nursing, and communication.
Soccer training is coordinated by former professional goalkeeper Carlos Vitor da Costa Ressurreição, who played for Londrina Esporte Clube. In 2016, when he became a Seventh-day Adventist, he decided to stop playing professionally to keep the Saturday Sabbath rest.
“Due to the political, economic, and health crises that Lebanon has faced in 2020, only boys’ and girls’ soccer classes have been implemented so far,” João Colares, one of the initiative coordinators, said. Eventually, other courses are expected to be offered, such as English, computers, and sewing.
Colares said that the mission team’s dream is to add courses and expand their activities to another city to reach more refugees. Another plan is to be able to welcome volunteer groups on short-term mission projects. As a longer-term goal, “we would also like to make it possible for more young people to have access to higher education at Adventist schools around the world,” he said.
Every activity related to the project is fully funded through donations and various types of contributions. According to organizers, people willing to help can volunteer by joining the group serving in Lebanon. “A second option is by making a financial contribution to the project. A third way of supporting this initiative is by following the group’s activities on social media, sharing the contents posted there, and praying regularly for the project,” they said.