Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images Sports
What the World Cup Looks Like to a Refugee Child
World Cup

What the World Cup Looks Like to a Refugee Child "Germany are playing with a lot of self-confidence." Sounds right to us.

By Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images Sports

I wanted to write a post predicting who will win the World Cup, but then truly, who really cares about my prediction? What do I know? I’m no pundit, not that pundits know anything anyway.

Also, I’m a firm Bohrian. It was Niels who said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future.”

Basically, a child could do just as well as me.

So why not have a child do it? Not just any child, but a refugee.

I had friends who work with two NGOs ask kids served by their groups some questions about the World Cup. The first organization is the World Food Programme in Beirut, which provides essential food and nutrition to over a million Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The second is Faros, an NGO in Athens, Greece, that provides individual assistance and long-term, durable solutions for unaccompanied refugee minors, mostly from Iraq and Afghanistan. One of their activities is a soccer school, which aims to give the kids the possibility to play and have fun, and also to raise their self-confidence.

I’m a big fan of the footballists blog by the wonderful photographer Velibor Božović, so I thought I’d set this up in a similar way, which is ask each boy or girl who they think will win, who their favorite player is, and then post it with a picture.

Unfortunately, it took a while to get the responses (you try to get thousands of kids to do something on time!), so some of their answers are dated. More important, my friend at Faros didn’t have enough time to get permission to use photos. But we did get a picture of the field where the youngsters play. Isn’t it great?!

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The pitch at the Faros soccer school

Without further ado, here are the children's perspectives on the World Cup. Feel free to use the still relevant predictions to place your bets on the finalor instead of placing bets, please, please, please donate to the NGOs involved.

First the Faros kids:

Which team is your favorite and why?

Mostafa (16 years): My favourite team is Holland. They are a very strong team.

Reza (16 years): Germany because they have star players and play very nicely.

Ali (17 years): Germany. They have a strong team and play very well. 

 

Who is your favourite player and why?

Mostafa (16 years): Messi. I like him because he has a good behaviour on the field and plays excellent.

Reza (16 years): Benzema from France. He plays very nicely and is very effective in front of the goal.

Ali (17 years): Messi, of course. He is a key player that can change the result of the game himself.

 

Who do you think will win the World Cup?

Mostafa (16 years): Holland.

Reza (16 years): I think Brazil will win because they are hosting the World Cup and have a lot of supporters, which I think is a big advantage.

Ali (17 years): I am sure that Germany will win. They are playing well and with a lot of self-confidence.

And now for the Syrian children in Lebanon. (Their photos were taken by the volunteers at the World Food Programme.)

Souad (9 years old): I support Brazil team because they play well. I do not really know the names of the players. I think Germany will win the World Cup. Brazil always loses.

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Souad, age 9 

Wassim (age 13): I support Brazil because they are a strong team and it is exciting to watch Brazil games. I do not know the name of my favorite player. Brazil will win the World Cup.

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Wassim, age 13

Yamama (age 9): I support Germany, because my cousin Salah (the son of my Uncle Obeid) does. I do not know the name of my favorite player. Germany will win the World Cup.

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Yamama, age 9

Mohamad (age 15):  I support Germany because they are the best players. My favorite player is Neymar, he is like a “sniper’ in scoring. I think Germany will win the World Cup.

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Mohamad, age 15

Safaa (age 11): I support Brazil because the players are good. I do not have any name of any favorite player in my mind. Brazil will win the World Cup.

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Safaa, age 11

Abdallah (age 14): I support Argentina because the players are all good. My favorite player is of course Messi, he is quick and he is the best player in the whole world. I think Argentina will win the World Cup.

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Abdallah, age 14

There you have it.

You can find more information on World Food Programme here and Faros here

Rabih Alameddine is a novelist. His most recent is An Unnecessary Woman.

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