PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 June 2019
Whitechapel-born Emdad Rahman in Lebanon. Picture: HRF.
A football coach has travelled to Lebanon to spend a week with Syrian refugees.
Emdad Rahman, who is in charge of Stepney FC, joined a Human Relief Foundation team for the visit.
The goal of the HRF is to work with communities to help them improve their lives and allow them to solve their own problems through relief and developmental programmes.
Mr Rahman, who lives in Dagenham, has been volunteering with the HRF for the last seven years, mainly in the UK.
The only Londoner in the group, he helped distribute food packs at the camps.
There was a special hot food service for those fasting in the town of Arsal, around ten miles from the Syrian boarder.
Most of the people in the aid group were also fasting, including Mr Rahman.
“I decided to keep fasting and this heightened my awareness and empathy for those who are not only refugees but also those in our own neighbourhoods who are struggling with life.”
This trip isn’t the only work Mr Rahman does for charity.
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He also runs One Third Soup Kitchen, which feeds homeless people in Whitechapel and Stratford and has been running for six years.
With Neighbours in Poplar he travels to Calais on a monthly basis to help the refugees there.
Later in the Lebanon trip, he gave out toys to children at a camp in Barr Elias, a town close to the Lebanese capital. He used his skills as a football coach to help the children improve their game.
But many of these people need significant help.
“Aside from food and essentials these stricken people need serious mental health support in terms of counselling and therapy.”
“These are displaced people who are severely traumatised.
“I met orphans, widows, the disabled and mentally scarred youngsters. They may never recover from their trauma.
“I enjoyed working hard with the team and using football to bring about some smiles. I hope our work will encourage many more people to make a difference.”
Asked why he gives so much of his time to charity, Mr Rahman said: “It humbles me, keeps my feet on the ground.
“It gives me greater perspective to drive myself onto bigger and better things.
“Watching people smile, bringing a smile to their faces, is invaluable.”
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