Emirati Teens Travel to Jordan to Teach Jiu-Jitsu to Syrian Refugees
In a heartfelt gesture, 30 Emirati students traveled to Jordan’s Mrajeeb Al-Fhood refugee camp to bring jiu-jitsu to Syrian children, who have fled their homes to escape the wrath of the civil war.
The national Mohamed bin Zayed Jiu-Jitsu Program travelled overseas for the first time with these diligent teenagers along with their instructors to bring relief in the form of sports to these crisis-ridden fellow human beings.
The aforementioned camp is run by the Emirati Red Crescent and houses around 6,000 refugees, most of them women and children.
The students, who came in two groups with 15 students each, will live in the camp for two weeks at a time and will be sharing meals and facilities with other refugees who had come to Jordan searching for asylum.
“It is so much easier for the younger participants to take part in the program when they see people of their own age as coaches,” said Fouad Darwish, general manager at Palms Sports, a UAE jiu-jitsu company supporting the program, according to The National. “It will also widen the scope for those Emirati kids, [teaching them] about what’s going on abroad,” he continued.
Organizers hope that this way young refugees will benefit from the program by gaining more confidence from learning martial arts.
“They all stay in the same camp, they eat the same food as their refugee friends and stay in the same type of sleeping quarters. The volunteers do not leave the camp whatsoever.”
It was initially planned that the program would only target younger refugees, however, both men and women were enthusiastic about the idea, and now the program has extended to involve refugees of all ages and genders.
“We believe in equality. When we empower our kids, we empower them without discrimination,” Dr Dariwsh added.
The national Emirati jiu-jitsu program first began its activities in 2009, and over the past decade, it proved itself to be very popular, with more than 140,000 people involved. Furthermore, it has contributed to the UAE assuming a leading position in the sport.
“The movement of the sport to the refugee camp is a step to a better life for the people inside,” said Fahad Abdulrahman bin Sultan, Undersecretary of Development at the Emirates Red Crescent.
It is hoped that in the upcoming years these refugees will return to their homeland spreading jiu-jitsu to younger generations of Syrians.