Using Soccer to Help Gaza-border Kids Cope With Trauma

The programs will use soccer as a tool to empower, educate and help children traumatized by this summer's fighting.

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Kids playing soccer.Credit: Dreamstime

JTA - A sport development organization is using soccer to help children in southern Israel with trauma from the summer’s massive rocket fire from Gaza on their communities.

As part of the initiative, Mifalot is planning to rebuild a soccer field damaged by rocket fire at Kibbutz Mefalsim, located approximately one mile from the Gaza border, to serve as the center for its educational programs through soccer.

The programs will use soccer as a tool to empower, educate and help children deal with post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of the some 3,000 rockets that were fired on the area immediately before and during Israel’s 50-day operation in Gaza over the summer.

The organization launched a crowd funding campaign this week to raise funds for the soccer initiative. The campaign will close on Jan. 8.

Mifalot was founded 15 years ago by Sami Segol, Moti Orenstein and Moshe Teomim, then-owners of Hapoel Tel Aviv soccer team. The group operates hundreds of social projects throughout 250 towns and villages across the country, focusing on children at risk and towns on Israel’s periphery. The organization has adjusted its programs in order to partner with communities and organizations in Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Rwanda, Haiti, Cameroon, Nigeria and Philippines.