This spring, CPTers joined local community activists and Terres des hommes (Tdh): Hebron Community Mental Health Program in supporting a new "Sports for Kids" initiative in Hebron's Old City.
Palestinian boys, aged 10-12, from the Old City formed a soccer team and Tdh provided funding for the uniforms. Their first practice included a game against young adult visitors from "Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace" and the "Palestinian Association in Stockholm." The team meets once a week for practice and hopes to play other youth teams in the future.
Many young people, particularly in the Old City, are at risk because of the violence and ever-increasing oppressiveness of the Israeli occupation. They have few safe places to play, and they witness daily acts of aggression by the Israeli occupation forces.
CPT sees this initiative, to provide a healthy outlet for the excess energy and youths' feelings of frustration and anger, as part of peacemaking and violence prevention work. The leaders hope that participation in the sports activities will increase feelings of self-esteem, give the youth a sense of belonging and ownership and teach them good sportsmanship. Organizers plan to increase the number of children involved in the program.