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2006.11.16
A familiar domestic scene played out in homes around the world. Sixteen-year-old Sahar helps her mother clean up after a family meal. Inside, the world Sahar shares with her parents and 10 siblings is an oasis of calm and order. But outside, she must contend with living in one of the poorest and most densely populated neighborhoods on earth – on the outskirts of conflict ridden Gaza City. Life here is hard – and often confining for many young girls. Religious and cultural beliefs leave little room for personal freedoms. They can’t play outside after school and must always adhere to strict Islamic dress codes. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Ysor Alassar, Sports for Development Teacher: "Some girls approached me and asked me does our religion forbid sports" Ysor (u sore) Alassar is one of hundreds of teachers trained by UNICEF to use sports as a tool to ease the stress of living with ongoing conflict and restrictions. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Ysor Alassar, Sports for Development Teacher: "Sports is important for their body, mind and for how they behave, and their thought processes." Before the sports for development program – students received maybe 45 minutes of structured exercise a week. Now – Ysor is here at 6:30 every morning to teach and supervise Sahar and her team mates. The Canadian government funded project is operating in about 200 schools in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In addition to increased hours of physical exercise per week – students also receive training in child’s rights, leadership and life skills and democracy. At first, Sahar’s mother was concerned about the time her daughter was spending away from home. Not anymore. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Sahar: “The parents would not allow us to play. But nowadays - as they say - school is our second home.” With four more daughters to raise – Ne’ma (neh ma) welcomes the changes she’s seen in Sahar. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Ne’ma, mother: "She likes to help at home. She now has a hobby which is sports. She aspires to play and develop herself." Sahar credits the sports program with keeping her mind and body fit – the beginning of what she hopes will be more positive changes for young women in her community. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Sahar: “We're not utilizing all of our freedom, but only around 50 percent to express ourselves." This is Anna Ceraldi reporting for UNICEF. For every child, advance humanity. *** Asset Name : UNICEF: For girls in Gaza, new opportunities to participate in sports Asset Duration: 02 min 20 secs Shoot City: Gaza City Shoot Country: Palestine Shoot Date: Nov 17 2005
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