Photographed by Mohamed Hossam
“We succeeded to prove ourselves to the society through football, because it is our fastest way to adapt in the society. The society’s idea about us will change when people watch us playing football and scoring goals, and that we have our own national team. These were the words of Mohamed Al-Masry, a goalkeeper and one of the 75,000 dwarfs living in Egypt.
According to Xinhuanet.com, a Chinese news source, Al-Masry’s job leaves him in a minority of an already marginalized group, which is largely barred from the workplace and lacks affordable healthcare, because of social discrimination and the government’s neglect. Not to mention the constant torturous heckling and scarring social abuse that they endure.
At the beginning of the article, Al-Masry was referring to “Kind Stars”, the first football team for dwarfs in Egypt with 20 players, from different provinces, who courageously united to disprove and break down all the negative social norms about dwarfism in Egypt, as well as to put a stop to bullying. Waleed Abdullah, one of the defenders, said, “When I joined this team, my life changed dramatically. In the past, people always looked at me with strange eyes and bullied me. But now, I went out with the team and participated in many activities.” Rest assured, these warriors are not taking this sport as a hobby; on the contrary, they have already competed against a team of normal stature, during a Ramadan football tournament, and amazingly won the match!
It is worth mentioning that this initiative started almost 7 years ago in 2012, when the Association for the Welfare of Dwarfs (AWDA) was launched in Alexandria, which mainly aims to defend the rights for dwarfs to enjoy a better well-deserved life. According to Xinhua, the association now boasts a general assembly of around 120 members with branches in Cairo and the Suez Canal cities of Port Said and Ismailia. The organization became publicly official after the constitutional amendment in 2014 that recognized dwarfs’ rights, which was an unprecedented triumph for the group in Egypt.
The team is now waiting for accreditation from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and we are genuinely rooting for them and wishing them nothing but the best of luck. If all goes well, they can one day compete in the 2020 American Cup for Dwarfs. You can check the full coverage on the inspirational “Kind Stars” right here.