'They need help': Footballer Leah Williamson to speak to UN about Syrian refugees

Leah Williamson becomes the first England women's footballer to speak to the UN and meets children from the world's largest refugee camp in Jordan, she speaks to ITV News' Steve Scott

Arsenal centre-back Leah Williamson will become the first England women's footballer to address the United Nations, where she will challenge gender stereotypes and look level the playing field for girls around the world.

Williamson, who captained England to their first ever Women's Euro title last summer, will tell the UN about her visit to Za'atari in Jordan - the largest refugee camp in the world.

On her visit she saw first-hand what football has done for girls and communities there through the work of The Arsenal Foundation and Save the Children.

'You feel totally useless, because they need help': Leah Williamson spoke to ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott after visiting the world's largest refugee camp in Jordan

She said: "It is hard, it’s one of those things where you go and you feel totally useless because they need help.

"There are girls that have joined the football programme and have found all this new confidence but they are stuck and it gives me perspective to live my life in a way that doesn’t waste the opportunity I have.

"It inspires me to live my life in a way that doesn’t waste my opportunity, to try and do things like this to try and help other people."

In 2018, The Arsenal Foundation and Save the Children combined their expertise to launch Coaching for Life - a programme that uses football to help improve the wellbeing of children and their families affected by the Syrian War.

Williamson, born in Milton Keynes, added: "It’s working, definitely, who knew if that was going to be the case, but what you see and how you see these young women change.

"I’ve spoken to them numerous times from London on Zoom for example, but to see them face to face, these are girls that want to change the world.

"And if they were stood in my shoes they would do that, it’s incredible."

Israa Abujamouse, Area Manager, Save the Children Jordan, said: "Over the past five years, Coaching for Life has been a shining example of the power of partnership and has been guided by the Za'atari community from the outset.

"Children who have participated have shared with us that the programme has enhanced their sense of belonging, improved their relationships with their family and boosted their confidence.

"But it's through the support of inspiring role models like Leah that they can dream even bigger."

Williamson said 'we're looking at a more positive future' following the resignation of Luis Rubiales after he kissed Jenni Hermoso

Former Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales has since been given a restraining order to prevent him from approaching Jenni Hermoso after he kissed her on the lips last month at the Women’s World Cup.

Williamson said: "I think we’re looking at a more positive future, that is the exact reason I’m at an event like this with the UN to be honest, that’s not an isolated event.

"It’s a challenge women have to face every day I believe, and we need to step outside of that conditioned behaviour and paint the world the way we want to experience it going forward, women need to show what they expect and men need to find ways to cater to that based on past mistakes."

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