Arsenal Ladies use football to inspire children - in Wheathampstead and Iraq

Jemma Rose from Arsenal Ladies trains the children

Jemma Rose from Arsenal Ladies trains the children - Credit: Archant

While some members of Arsenal Ladies have been sharing footie tips with youngsters in Wheathampstead, the team’s captain has been inspiring children living in Iraqi camps.

Arsenal Ladies' captain and Lioness Alex Scott meets Yasmine, 12 years old, who has been helped by

Arsenal Ladies' captain and Lioness Alex Scott meets Yasmine, 12 years old, who has been helped by the Save the Children football programme funded by Arsenal. Photo: Tom Pilston/Save the Children - Credit: Tom Pilston/Save the Children

Arsenal Ladies recently visited St Albans High School Preparatory School, Codicote Road, to run football sessions, ahead of the opening of a new cross country course.

The majority of the team lives in London Colney, as Arsenal’s training grounds are based in that village.

Meanwhile, Arsenal Ladies captain, and Lioness, Alex Scott, has recently returned from visiting a Save the Children project, which uses football to improve the lives of vulnerable young children in Iraq.

Among those she met was Yasmine, a 12 year old who was forced to flee her home because of heavy shelling.

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Children living in Iraqi camps have been provided with safe places to play football, while having the opportunity to make friends and escape the stresses of their situation.

The football programme has been launched across two camps for children and families affected by the armed conflict and as part of the project, Arsenal has funded two new artificial football pitches within both sites, in the Diyala Governorate.

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Yasmine said that she had been ‘scared’ by the bombing, which “kept getting worse and worse, until we had to escape.

“The day we left my home was the worst day of my life; I thought we would only be gone for two days, so I didn’t say goodbye to my friends.

“We’ve been stuck in the camp for two years now and life is really hard. It’s hot and dirty, and we often get sick.”

Alex Scott said that football had helped “give them back a childhood and some normality after everything they’ve been through.

“The bravery and resilience the kids in the camps show is awe-inspiring and has really put things into perspective for me.

“By encouraging team work, instilling a sense of achievement and just by having some fun, football is helping them to recover.”

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