Meet the Match

A Former Basketball Player with Big Dreams

As a triplet, Racha grew up competing. With two sisters the exact same age, Racha was always looking for ways to shine. “My sisters were always the center of attention because they were identical. But I was always different. I am taller and I don’t look like them physically. No one knew I was a triplet. So I wanted to do something great with my life so people could see me.”

Racha attended a French Catholic school where she had the privilege of playing sports once a week. She had tons of energy and talent, so being active just one day a week was not enough. By the age of ten, Racha organized her first marathon. “I marked the course around the school and divided my classmates, ten per team. Each person ran a leg of the race until all 26 miles were complete.”

Besides running, Racha also had a great passion and talent for basketball. Her professor noticed her abilities at an early age and nurtured her talents by taking her to play basketball after school. When Racha turned 13, she was invited to participate in the most prestigious sports club in Beirut. Racha went on to play basketball professionally in Lebanon and had an illustrious ten-year career as the playmaker and captain of her team.

Because of her basketball talent, leadership qualities, and strong track record as a 2009 State Department Alumni, the U.S. Embassy appointed Racha as the Project Manager for their recently developed NGO “SAFE Association.” SAFE is a basketball program designed to reach some of the most remote villages in Lebanon, which are known to be hotbeds for anti-U.S. hostility. As Project Manager, Racha not only delivers the basketball training, but she also facilitates discussions around life skills development and conflict resolution. When she is not organizing clinics for the U.S. Embassy, Racha works as a psychomotor therapist, primarily with children with physical and learning disabilities.

Racha is excited to be a part of this program and to grow personally and professionally. Her dream is start a basketball clinic for girls, to give them a chance in a culturally appropriate space, to experience the educational and emotional benefits of sports. “In Lebanon, women have rights. But in the villages, women think the only job is to be a wife. Every few months, they have another baby.  And they are not educated to know that life can be more than this. I want to use my sports reputation to encourage other women to be active and to dream bigger.”

Through this program, Racha is eager to learn how to encourage women and girls to be active and healthy through sports, especially in the villages. She is also anxious to be mentored in negotiation and management skills, such as event planning, fundraising, and community partnerships.

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