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“It’s hard to go into a refugee camp and find people who are interested in religion or politics, but go in there, or any other disadvantaged area, and throw a ball,’ explains Rwandan Eric Murangwa. ‘You don’t need to encourage anyone – they will all come running. That’s the power of football’

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Eric Murangwa with Dream Team academy players

There’s no doubt the world loves it. Billions are currently glued to their television sets from Tehran to Tijuana transfixed on the football’s greatest superstars battling it out in the month-long FIFA World Cup. But Eric’s belief in the potential of the beautiful game goes above and beyond the average mourning England fan or opinionated armchair pundit. He sees it as society’s greatest leveller, with the ability to bring people together, improve community cohesion and spread important messages that transcend the football pitch, whether that is a dusty field on the outskirts of Kigali in Rwanda or the painted lines of a rain-drenched rec in Tower Hamlets.

It’s no surprise that Eric places so much importance on the power of football. As a survivor of the Genocide in Rwanda, it was his relationships with fellow players and staff at his club Rayon Sports – where he played as a goalkeeper – that ensured he could outlive the 100 days of brutal violence and murder. His story of survival in which he is hidden by his Hutu teammates is the subject of one of our life stories for Holocaust Memorial Day 2015.”

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FHPU’s Team Rwanda Football team with Football Beyond Borders and supporters at ‘Play to Remember’, a Kwibuka20 activity.

Read the full story at: http://www.hmd.org.uk/news/beyond-world-cup-genocide-survivor-harnesses-power-football-rwanda

 

 

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