Ubuntu Goes Global: Outreach Trip to the Middle East


8 boys. 9 days. 8,000 miles. Using soccer to inspire refugees in the Middle East. 

We have chosen to go to the Middle East to help refugees, and to support them by giving them soccer clinics, as well as exploring the place for us to gain experience on what there is beyond our country and Africa.
— Shagon Charles

Since the Syrian civil war officially began in March of 2011, families have suffered brutal conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, torn the nation apart, and set back the standard of living by decades. Today, 13.1 million people in the country need humanitarian assistance.

After seven years of conflict, Syrians are facing the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with grave protection and human rights violations occurring daily.

Children have paid the heaviest price in the conflict, and their suffering has hit rock bottom in a drastic escalation of violence. Nearly 6 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance, with almost half forced to flee their homes. Many families have lost everything – including, for those who have fled the country, the protections that come with citizenship.

Neighbouring countries, including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, have taken in millions of Syrian refugees. Many more Syrian families have risked everything to find safety outside the region.

The Ubuntu Football Academy started as a response to the fatherlessness in South African communities. Through the academy, young men are being mentored, educated, and discipled, all while receiving the opportunity to cultivate their raw talent and sportsmanship in order to launch their soccer careers. Those involved in this organisation have recognized a similar fatherlessness as a result of the Syrian War. We believe that it is time for our young men to answer in turn and extend the same heart to the Syrian refugees. It is time for them to pour into the next line of boys, just as they have been poured into themselves.

We plan to facilitate a weeklong soccer clinic where eight of our Ubuntu Football Academy boys, along with their coaches, will train and spend time with refugees from ages 8 to 14. Our hope is for this to be an opportunity to bring excitement, joy, and love into the lives of our boys and the children they will meet.

Outreach date: 25 June – 3 July.

The Syrian refugee crisis in numbers:

  • 8 in 10 children in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance.
  • Almost 4 in 10 children in Syria have been displaced from their homes.
  • 1 in 4 schools have been damaged, destroyed or occupied. 
  • 5 in 10 children are out of school. 
  • In Lebanon, 8 in 10 Syrian children are not enrolled in school.
  • More than 6 in 10 Syrian refugees in Jordan live below the poverty line.
  •  In one study in a Turkish refugee camp, more than 4 in 10 Syrian children showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.