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Refugees eSports Cup: the first eSports tournament in refugee camps

boys playing video games
Copyrights: UEFA

Refugees eSports Cup: the first eSports tournament in refugee camps

From 26 January to 1 February, Libraries Without Borders and the UEFA Foundation for Children will hold the first eSport tournament in the Syrian refugee camp of Zaatari in Jordan.

A refugee spends on average 18 years of her or his life in a camp. Eighteen years without being able to catch up on the news, read or learn well. For that reason, Libraries Without Borders and the UEFA Foundation for Children are working tirelessly so that the women, men and children from the camp of Zaatari can connect with the world again, overcome boredom, find the assets to foster their resilience and think about their future. By promoting access to sport, education, information and culture, we are committed to giving everyone the capacity to be autonomous, free and to achieve fulfilment.

The camp is located east of Mafraq and has today 60 000 Syrians who fled from the civil war. Libraries Without Borders set up an Ideas Box there three years ago - a mobile media library, in kit form, designed by Philippe Starck. The UEFA Foundation for Children, meanwhile, has been offering for the past five years various sport activities through its house of sport, football pitches and coach education.

For the first time, Libraries Without Borders and the UEFA Foundation for Children will organise the “Refugees eSports Cup” tournament with the support of Facebook, PlayStation and ArmaTeam in the camp of Zaatari. From 26 January to 1 February, this event will gather 200 teenagers from 10 to 18 - including people with disabilities - who have been training since December; the final will be held on 31 January and February 1. At the core of this project: social cohesion and entertainment.

Video games, vector of social cohesion

In libraries and museums, video games have also their place. Way ahead of literature, movie and music industry, video games are nowadays the most consumed cultural good in the world.

Provide access to video games in refugee camps, why?

Libraries Without Borders and the UEFA Foundation for Children wish to make a positive use of this cultural good for all. To this end, it was meaningful to us to hold this very first eSport tournament in Jordan: video games are a cultural product that refugees should have access to, just like any other. For the time of a match, they will then be able to escape from their daily lives and their hard living conditions.

Video games are first and foremost human. Whether they challenge each other, regardless their stories, the players create a social link, exchange and share with respect. Interactive and inclusive, it brings them entertainment and allows them to escape, tell and create stories. Imagination and creativity are boosted. The player is able to dive into other universes - as a novel or a comic can do - by making her or him the main character of  her or his own story. It is a chance to meet each other, to learn the different issues and rules of living together. Finally, with the video games, failure - in all its forms - does not exist: it even constitutes the core of learning. And defeat encourages them to carry on and move forward.

This article was originally published by the UEFA Foundation. 

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UEFA Foundation

Published

Friday, January 31, 2020 - 13:22

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