“I no longer feel fear”
Sarah Tamimi, a student at Ghayn Al-Hilwa School, participated in the Hope Project, which was implemented by Palestine Sports for Life in partnership with Generation Amazing, Qatar Charity, Qatar Funds for Development, and the Ministry of Education.
This is what Sarah has to say about her success in the program:
I am the child of Sarah Tamimi, and I joined the Football program for development, which was implemented in my school, Ghayn Al-Hilwa School.
On the first day of the project, I attended the first session wearing my traditional school uniform. I was quite surprised by the attire requested for the session. At first, I found it very strange and couldn't accept it. I am an extremely shy and introverted girl who doesn't like to participate in any activity. During the session, I didn't utter a word except during the ice-breaking activity, and my voice was barely audible.
I always stood alone and I was afraid of the ball touching me. I hardly spoke because I grew up with my mother's extreme caution when it came to interacting with other children in the neighborhood, kindergarten, or school. She rarely allowed me to leave the house, and only under very strict conditions to ensure my safety and protection in her presence. This made me a quiet child who didn't talk much, and I always felt fear.
Through the activities conducted by Captain Heba with the children, I gradually built a trusting relationship with my classmates. I started interacting with them more, and I gained self-confidence despite them being my classmates for the past few years. There was still a significant barrier between us, but it began to gradually fade away through the project's activities. I was gradually integrated with my peers, and I reinforced every positive behavior I engaged in.
Captain Heba was keen on making me part of the group, even though the girls didn't initially want me on their team because I didn't know how to play football. During the team assignments, I was encouraged to integrate more and collaborate with my classmates. Sometimes, I even took on the responsibility of leading the group. The life skills we applied in every session played a significant role in enhancing my integration and communication with Captain Heba and the other girls.
After each session, during the evaluation part, we had a simple discussion about the skills we learned and how they affected us personally and academically. I felt a change within me. I became more confident and fluent in conversation, and I developed a sense of initiative and participation. I made new friends and grew in leadership skills.
This transformation also affected my behavior and the way I carry myself. I was no longer shy and fearful, avoiding eye contact when speaking to others. This had a positive impact on my academic performance as well. I achieved high grades, and within my family, I became more involved and closer to my sisters and relatives. I started participating in everything.
The trainer says, "She is a friendly girl, not violent at all. She likes to communicate and is very expressive. She told me in the last project how much she enjoyed playing. At the end of each session, she would say, 'Thank you’, Aunty, she was different from all the other girls.' During the sessions, the girls did not want her on their team because they thought she didn't know how to play, and I had to address the issue of bullying. I put her at the forefront of the team, encouraged her, and boosted her morale until her fear gradually disappeared, and her self-confidence increased."