Find A Better Way sponsors Lebanon Landmine Survivor FC
4 April is International Mine Awareness Day, as decreed by the United Nations in 2005, and Sir Bobby Charlton and Find A Better Way are marking the occasion by launching a new partnership with the Lebanon Landmine Survivor Football Club.
The team, which was formed in 2005 and is made up of twenty landmine blast survivors, is administered by LWAH – the Lebanese Welfare Association for the Handicapped. Each player has lost at least one limb to a landmine blast and, where necessary, plays wearing a prosthesis. As there are no other similar teams in Lebanon or in nearby countries the club plays almost exclusively against non-handicapped teams.
Later today the team will take to the pitch in a brand new kit, which proudly features Find A Better Way as shirt sponsors. As part of International Mine Awareness Day, and to mark the new sponsorship, a special match has been arranged against a team from the Association Libanaise de la Presse Sportive (Lebanese Sports Media Association – ALPS). The match kicks off at Bir Hassan Technical College in Beirut at 5pm local time (3pm UK time). Updates will be available via the Find A Better Way twitter account.
One player who is especially excited by today’s announcement is defender Hussein Ghandour. Hussein picked up an unexploded cluster munition as a seven-year-old child. He survived the blast, but lost an arm and a leg.
Hussein explained, ‘At first I could not realize the impact of my loss. I was surrounded by family and medical staff, and could not understand the extent of my injury. But reality struck and it set in. I started to realize I am different. I could not play or run or enjoy my time with other kids my age. It was tough and it hurt badly.’
Hussein not only received care and rehabilitation from LWAH, but has now thanks to their support trained as a Prosthetics and Corrective Devices Specialist – a job he has enjoyed for the last ten years. Now aged 36, a husband and father of two children, Hussein sites his experience as player for Lebanon Landmine Survivors as a key part of his continued development.
He commented, ‘Being part of the Landmine Survivors Football Team, I am a changed person. A lot more confident with many more opportunities ahead of me where I can get my voice heard and express my abilities the best way I can. It is my time out, my refuge and my joy.
‘I am thrilled, of course, that Sir Bobby Charton’s charity Find A Better Way is now our team sponsor. Sir Bobby is a true football legend, and knowing that he will be following our team’s results from now will be a huge source of inspiration to all of us.”
Sir Bobby is enthusiastic about Find A Better Way’s new partners as well. He proudly posed in the Lebanon Landmine Survivor shirt (pictured).
‘It is truly an honour for Find A Better Way to be the shirt sponsor of the Lebanon Landmine Survivor Football Team,’ he explained. ‘What these players have accomplished by simply forming a team, let alone competing and winning against teams of non-disabled players, is truly inspirational. I am especially moved by the story of Hussein Ghandour – he is a wonderful example of the healing power of sport.
‘I’m extremely proud that the team will now be playing matches with the Find A Better Way logo on their shirts, and I am looking forward to deepening ties with the team and the LWAH in future.’
Find A Better Way CEO Lou McGrath OBE commented, ‘Some types of landmines are designed to wound rather than kill, so helping the thousands of civilians who survive landmine blasts every year is an important part of Find A Better Way’s mission. Survivors typically struggle with much more than just a missing limb, however, and the Lebanon Landmine Survivor team are showing what a powerful tool sport in general, and football in particular can be. We are delighted to be sponsoring the team, and look forward to an ongoing partnership with LWAH.’
LWAH CEO Mrs. Reem Makki Haddara added, ‘Lebanon Landmine Survivors team members have greatly suffered as a result of that misstep on a mine, now they are proudly taking all the right steps. Find A Better Way’s sponsorship shall be a great motivation for the team and we look forward for further accomplishments.’