‘We are superhero girls here’: how football is helping refugees in Lebanon | Suzanne Wrack

Barcelona are running a programme in the Bekaa Valley, aiming to harness football’s ability to break down the barriers society constructs between people and cultures

“The young boys did not accept the idea of playing with girls. I used to show them that I could play to challenge the stereotypical image of a football player in their minds. I resolved the situation by building up and training one team of female players only and had one team of male players coached by a man. Then they played each other and who won in the end? The female team. That’s how we solved the problem. We showed them girls could play. This helped them to start to accept girls” – Karime Akrouche, FutbolNet coach.

Tensions are running high in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. As one embarks on the two-hour inland drive through the mountains, away from the opulence of Beirut, the once-white tents pockmarked with scraps of canvas and topped with tyres start to appear.

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