Cricket helping Syrian refugees access education


JORDAN: A unique project introducing cricket to young Syrian refugees is taking place in Jordan this week.

According to ICC, the project is led by the cricket development charity, Cricket Without Boundaries (CWB), in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the global development programme Right to Play.

Five UK-based volunteers from CWB flew out to Jordan last week to work with refugees – the majority of whom have fled from the civil war in Syria – and the local Jordanian community. The charity uses cricket as a platform to promote education for refugees while developing new networks for cricket to grow.

Jordan currently provides refuge for over 740,000 refugees of nearly 60 nationalities registered with UNHCR. The vast majority of refugees, both Syrian and other nationalities including Iraqi, reside outside camp settings alongside their Jordanian hosts in urban and rural areas.

Jules Farman, Equality and Inclusion Lead at Cricket Without Boundaries, recognises the scale of the task confronting the Jordanian school system and hopes that his organisation can help ease the burden.

“With so many refugees now living in Jordan,” he says, “schools are struggling to cope with the numbers of children in need of an education. Our role will be to use play-based activity to promote and direct children and their families to the support available. It will also be an important tool to listen to the children and to discover what more can be done to help them and their families now and over the coming years.

“The work we do at CWB allows children and young people to put forward their voices through play. Working with UNHCR and Right to Play, it will provide a narrative to the refugee crisis that will help build an understanding of the complexities that displaced people and refugees face to a new audience of our wider cricket family and beyond. As cricket is a game for people of all abilities and backgrounds, I am really looking to introducing it to children and young people who have never played before sharing this wonderful game so all have the opportunity to get involved.”

A UK-based cricket development and HIV/AIDS and FGM awareness charity, Cricket Without Boundaries have spent a decade working across five sub-Saharan African countries. In that time, they have coached over 250,000 children, while delivering health messages on HIV/AIDS and FGM. In addition, over 3,000 coaches have been trained, with those coaches continuing to coach cricket and deliver health and social messages.

“Cricket can break down boundaries and deliver vital messages,” Farman adds. “We know from our work over the past 10 years in Africa that cricket will help refugees settle into their new homes, get the education they so desperately need and put smiles back on their faces.”

To help deliver the Jordan project, the five CWB volunteers have been joined by four volunteers from Jordan and another from Kuwait.