Four years ago, when 19-year-old Right To Play Coach Ousamma fled his home in Syria during the ongoing Syrian civil war, he hoped that he and his family's struggle would be over and that they would easily settle into a new home. But after arriving in Lebanon, Ousamma realized his biggest challenge wasn't simply about where he lived, but rather adapting to a "new country with a different culture and traditions and having to make new friends and build relationships."
For Ousamma and the five million other Syrian refugees—over half of whom are children—living in Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon, the meeting of theirs and host cultures can often be a clash of stereotypes and misconceptions, challenging social cohesion and both of the communities' sense of home.
Rouya understands this challenge well, as her sense of security and community also changed due to the Syrian crisis. The 16-year-old Lebanese Right To Play Coach has had to adapt to the changes her city, Tripoli, has endured since becoming home to many Syrian families.
Ousamma and Rouya have however, learned how to accept, respect and coexist with new people and their cultural differences peacefully by participating in Right To Play's play-based programs. They provide "a fun way through play and sports to decrease tension between Syrians and Lebanese," explains Ousamma. Knowing the power and positive impact our programs had on their own lives, both Rouya and Ousamma now volunteer their time as Coaches spreading the tools that helped them break down barriers between their different cultures.
Learn more about Rouya and Ousamma's personal experiences and how they are now inspiring confidence, understanding and teamwork in the 2,500 children participating in Right To Play programs in Lebanon.
Join our Live Twitter Chat with Ousamma and Rouya as they share their personal stories, this Monday at 9 am EST/2pm GMT +1.