A translation of a report published by the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

Mohammad: “I like Riadati sessions, when I fall on the grass, I don’t get hurt, and I don’t have to look around for cars when I’m playing.”

Born into the shadows of displacement in Jordan, Mohammad, a nine-year-old Syrian, seemed sad as we chatted with him during the last Riadati session, which took place at Balcony, one of the Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) participating in the Riadati Programme, in Sahab, Amman.

Mohammad’s family, grappling with displacement, faces the challenges of providing the very basics. Mohammad’s life, like many in his situation, lacks activities and safe spaces to play and engage with children of his age. In the afternoons, he heads to a school in Sahab, a common routine for many children who have to attend afternoon classes due to overcrowded schools, and the lack of resources.

“I’m sad, because this is the last session,” Mohammad said quickly, glancing back and forth between his friends, absorbed in the intense football match.

When Mohammad was asked whether he enjoys sessions with Riadati or not, he answered without hesitation.

“Of course, I like Riadati sessions, when I fall on the grass, I don’t get hurt, and I don’t have to look around for cars when I’m playing,” Mohammad told Generations For Peace (GFP).

“Mohammad and his best friend Rayan in the football fields.”

In a world where the access to facilities to play is often limited or seen as a privilege, Mohammad views Riadati sessions as his getaway from the reality that he was born into.

Here, Mohammad can simply be a child, unburdened by worries, unlike the dangers he might face playing in streets. The open fields become his haven, where the fear of falling is replaced by the joy of play. The scrapes and bruises he might get from playing become badges of adventure and fun, not painful wounds of despair—a simple yet profound shift in his everyday experience.

Mohammad said that he gets along very well with his friends at the sessions. “Here no one bullies me,” said Mohammad.  What sets Riadati’s sessions apart is that it provides safe spaces for children to play and interact together.

Meanwhile, Nisreen, the volunteer facilitator in the programme, equipped with GFP’s Sport for Protection and Peace tools acquired through training sessions, noted that children unite to play, enjoy themselves, and form connections with each other, extending beyond the sessions.

Nisreen, armed with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to facilitate the programme activities, emphasised: “One of the primary objectives of Riadati is to enhance mental health and psychosocial well-being through GFP’s sport and sport-based activities. Through these activities, participants learn about concepts of conflict transformation and build lasting connections.”

“It’s not just about physical activity; it’s about creating a sanctuary where children like Mohammad can find solace and support, transcending the challenges they face,” Nisreen reflected.

Riadati, implemented by GFP with support from Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF), aims to improve mental health and psychosocial well-being of 15,000 displacement-affected Syrian, Palestinian, and Jordanian youth through sport. The Programme was launched in 2021 and will continue over the span of three years. Riadati will enable equal number of female and male children and youth to engage in high-quality sport activities. The sessions are delivered in partnership with UNICEF at the UNICEF-supported Makani Centres, and during the Summer Camps organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Jordan School Sports Federation (JSSF).