Mohammed & Zeina, Playmakers in Lebanon

Mohammad Chachine and Zeina Harb are Playmaker volunteers in GAME Lebanon. They’ve been selected to participate in GAME’s Playmaker Exchange Program and have been on a visit to GAME Streetmekka Copenhagen.

GAME is operating in both Denmark and Lebanon and Mohammad and Zeina are Playmakers volunteers in the Lebanese version of GAME. They are both passionate in their work and enjoy working with kids. In September they packed their suitcases and travelled to Denmark to expand their ‘GAME horizon’. For approximately a week, the two Lebanese Playmakers were visitors at GAME Denmark. They spent their time visiting GAME Streetmekka in Copenhagen and Esbjerg and attending the annual event GAME Finals. Mohammad and Zeina know everything there is about being a Playmaker in Lebanon and after one week in the Danish version of GAME, they have achieved a lot of new knowledge and gained some great experiences.

You have been in Denmark for approximately a week. What have you experienced during your stay?
Zeina: “It’s been an amazing stay! We’ve been on tours in Copenhagen and visited some museums, Tivoli, Newport and other cool stuff. We also tried some local food. Most of our stay was spent in Copenhagen but we also visited GAME Streetmekka in Esbjerg, which is a really cool house too. It was quite amusing when I had to travel by train. We don’t have trains in Lebanon, so we were both very confused in the beginning as we had no idea how to use the train to get from A to B”.
Mohammad: “Yes, one of the days I had to travel from Næstved to GAME Streetmekka Copenhagen. I got lost and ran late because I couldn’t figure out how the whole train system works. It’s quite funny because the system is pretty simple with screens on the platform that contains all information”.

Why did you want to become a Playmaker?
Mohammad: “I wanted to become a Playmaker because I have a passion for basket and I want to teach the sport. The Playmaker program also gives me an opportunity to make a difference to a lot of kids. Personally, it gives me a lot of experience in how to associate with kids. I’ve also learned to speak in front of a lot of people, which is really nice! As a role model, I grow from the advice I give and the experiences I gain. It’s really just great to teach in basket while I’m making a difference to others at the same time”.
Zeina: “It’s nice to be responsible for the kids. It’s an amazing feeling when they are overjoyed after practice. Regardless of their age, I have learned a lot by spending time with them. I experience the different stages in their lives and it’s like I can live in the same age as they are in when I’m with them. I like to be a role model for the kids and it is great when I can help them in any situation. We teach them to be polite and independent in many ways, but at the same time the practice is also a safe haven both for them and for us, where we can get a break from everyday life. I can also feel that they appreciate the possibility of talking with an adult, that is nor necessarily their parents or teacher”.

Is the Playmaker program in Lebanon different than the program in Denmark?
Mohammad: “There is a difference in the way that GAME Lebanon and GAME Denmark educate their Playmakers. In the Lebanese Playmaker program there are several stages. Depending on how many stages you have accomplished, you can cover diverse tasks. The last stage is called Hall of GAME. Zeina and I are both at this stage which mean that we can undertake all kinds of tasks there might be for a Playmaker. Actually, it is a very smart system as the different stages prepares you for the situations you face. And you will not be in a situation before you have accomplished the stage that prepares you for it”.

Can GAME Denmark and GAME Lebanon learn from each other?
Zeina: “Definitely! We have already spoken to some Danish Playmakers about what’s working in Lebanon and whether it can work in Denmark and vice versa. To give an example, I thought it was great that the Playmakers in Copenhagen had bought ice cream for the kids one day, which they enjoyed after practice. It gave a greater social aspect to the practice as the kids enjoyed spending time with each other while eating ice cream. I would also like to make some activities that make my practices even more social”.
Mohammad: ” We also debated different methods for recruiting kids. Here we can also learn from each other”.

GAME wishes to expand and operate in other countries than Denmark and Lebanon. Do you think this is a good idea?
Zeina: “That would be so great! It would make a good project even bigger and result in so many happy kids”.
Mohammad: “It would give us the opportunity to gain more knowledge on culture. I believe that it will have positive effect on the organization”.

The Playmaker Exchange Program is a three-year exchange program where 10 Playmakers are travelling to respectively Denmark and Lebanon to teach and learn from each other. The Playmaker Exchange Program is supported by KVINFO and MS – Action Aid