Palestine has suffered one of the most wide-ranging conflicts of the 20th Century. the violence resulting from this conflict has elicited international aid, yet people are still suffering every day, the region’s youth in particular.
They have lost their opportunities for education, outlets for nutrition and have been manipulated by propaganda. Many government related steps have been taken to try and solicit change in this region, with these efforts having minimal success. Perhaps a different type of change needs to be utilized.
Football has always been a vital tool for change throughout the world. This is especially true in regions of despair, poverty, and conflict. In a world where politics often become more of a roadblock to change, sports and football have a unique and special ability to break apart boundaries.
In light of struggles of religion, war and politics in the Middle East, organizations aiming for peace through sports, such as Mifalot, have been established.
This organisation utilizes the unifying power of football as a means to build more active, compassionate and cohesive communities in Palestine and around the world.
The owners of Hapoel Tel Aviv Football Club in Israel founded Mifalot in 1997 under the principle that football creates social change. Mifalotâ€™s projects are designed to promote sustainable development and peaceful coexistence in the Middle East.
Mifalot serves the educational and social needs of youth through sporting programs that provide children with the tools to learn, grow and excel in their community and the world. Some of their projects include football programs focusing on Coexistence and Peace and Child Development and Education.
After much success in Israel, Mifalot decided to expand their organisation outside of Israel and to adapt their project models to meet the local needs of different communities. Mifalot is currently located in Jordan, Palestine, Rwanda, Cameroon, and Haiti.
The organization recognizes that each international community has unique needs, cultural practices and constraints, but believes that all these communities share the potential to empower youth through sport.
As an organisation that aspires for social change and global progress, it is clear to those at Mifalot that the
Key for change begins with the youth. Football has shown to have the special ability to create opportunities for peaceful and powerful unification among youth, and therefore it is the goal of Mifalot to help facilitate these crucial and world-changing opportunities.
In a region where the relationship between Palestinians and Israelis has been tense and violent for years, where homes are destroyed and hidden bombs can explode at any moment, the Mifalot staff displays tremendous courage and compassion by bringing youth from these two different cultures together in peace. Their common love for football could be the beginning of a friendship.