Inspiring story of a Syrian refugee who has set up his own football club in Belgium for refugees from Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and other countries.
Adam Razzouq, a refugee from Syria, is currently residing in Belgium, in the town of Tienen, almost an hour away from the capital, Brussels. He left Syria at the outset of the civil war in 2011. After spending time in Lebanon and Turkey, he arrived in Belgium in 2014, where he strove to realise his dream – to found a football club.
Razzouq saw an opportunity in Belgium to gather refugees from various countries and form a football team from those individuals. He posted an advertisement on his Facebook page stating that he was looking for refugee football players.
The response was staggering. Around 250 people came to the first test session. 40 players passed the test and thus the football team “Syriana” was established.
“Syriana is considered a project, it is a football club for refugees in Belgium. I started several years ago with the help of the Belgians I met. I wanted to do something in Belgium that shows that we have talented people that we can do a lot of things with. We have good football players and we would like to integrate ourselves into Belgian society”, said Adam Razzouq.
Razzouq created the football club in the hope that refugees will find an outlet for bonding together and to find a way into Belgian society. Sport has been proven to act as a conducive medium for individuals from various background to mingle, share experiences and feel part of a group. A lack of community feeling poses dangers to refugees’ mental health and general well-being.
Syria has for a number of years been regarded as the most urgent and significant refugee crisis in the world with millions crossing the borders into Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. A smaller number of Syrian refugees have made their way to Europe, where initiatives like these help them to integrate into society.