This year, PPI – ME expanded its activities in the “mixed” Arab-Jewish town of Jaffa. Although Jaffa is a “mixed city,” inhabited by both Jews and Arabs, this diversity does not always lend itself to tolerance and acceptance of individual differences. Many of the Jews and Arabs of Jaffa, though living side-by-side, harbor deep animosities and prejudices toward one another.
The “Twinned Clubs – Jaffa” project aims to better the lives of Jaffa’s residents by contributing to an atmosphere of cooperation, tolerance and harmony in the community. This year, PPI – ME works with more than 100 Arab and Jewish children in Jaffa, comprised of 8 school teams and two league teams. Because the teams are integrated from the get-go, the children participate in tournaments and special events, rather than “Twinnings“.
Last week, PPI – ME hosted a special “Twinning” style tournament for school aged children in Jaffa. Participating schools, including Hashmoniam, Weitzman, and the Democratic School.
The event was lead by PPI – ME’s American Trainer, Edniesha Curry, previously of the WNBA’s LA Sparks and Phoenix Mercury. She supposed to be aided by Basketball Operations Manager, Vito Gilic, who was detained due to a roadblock that was erected due a “suspicious package” (unfortunately, such incidences, are not an uncommon occurrence in the challenging context in which we work). In Vito’s absence, Coach Eddie enthusiastically took the lead.
The kids were split up into groups and rotated through different skills stations, including ball-handling, dribbling, and shooting. The event ended with friendly scrimmages – just for a little bit of healthy competition. As always, themes such as sportsmanship and teamwork were emphasized, making sure that everyone went home feeling like a “winner”.