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  • A still from footage from the first day of Premier League workshops at the Jordanian refugee camp.

    A still from footage from the first day of Premier League workshops at the Jordanian refugee camp. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 November 2015

The British soccer experts hope the initiative will raise awareness of the refugees’ plight at home and raise morale in the camps.

England's Premier League is sending practical moral support assistance to Syria's refugees, as workshops begin Monday at Jordan's Azraq camp with the aim of setting up leagues to help young people stay occupied and fit.

The Premier League Skills Program is leading a four-day workshop for 12 female coaches and 24 male coaches from Jordan's largest refugee camp, Zaatari, and second largest, Azraq.

Jez Weeks, head coach for the Premier League's international soccer program, said he hopes that the initiative "raises the profile of what is happening" in Syria among people in the U.K. He also said he believes in the “power of football,” away from the professional game.

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Bdour, a Syrian refugee who has been living in Zaatari for four years, agrees. She says she found a sense of purpose in coaching young girls' soccer.

"I learned a lot, and was able to teach the kids some skills. There are some children who face a lot of psychological stress, but as they practiced with me, they benefited greatly," she said.

Laura Nicholls, Wolverhampton Wanderers football club's sports development manager, who is training the female coaches, told Reuters, "For the first three days it's about working with the coaches, really getting to know them, understanding what they want to achieve from the course, giving them the skills and development opportunities."

​Azraq, about 90 miles east of Amman, houses over 26,000 refugees. It is the second-largest refugee camp for Syrians in Jordan. More than 600,000 refugees are registered in Jordan with around 100,000 Syrians in the camps, according to the U.N. body for refugees, UNHCR.

Syria's civil war has caused a devastating exodus of people. More than 3.8 million people have left the country since 2011.

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