FROM the dusty camps of Africa and the Middle East to the sporting grounds of southern Tasmania, ball sports have remained one of the few constants for young people whose lives have be subject to constant change.
In an effort to promote social connections, mental health and wellbeing through sport, the Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) recently hosted a futsal competition at Dominic College in Glenorchy.
Organised through the MRC’s early intervention program, with assistance from Youth Settlement Services, more than 100 players and spectators travelled from Launceston and Hobart to participate.
The aim of the event was to forge community links between children from refugee backgrounds and the wider community.
MRC youth support worker Sally Thompson said poverty was “a given” in refugee camps and the only games available to children were those that were cheap to play and didn’t need formal arenas.
“That is why soccer is so popular and the youth have brought those skills with them to Tasmania,” she said.
“With this in mind, we decided to adapt them to futsal – like soccer, it requires energy, coordination and skill, but is not expensive.
“Futsal is becoming popular among young people from refugee communities and it is well established from academic studies that sport is a good vehicle for the promotion of community integration.”
Ms Thompson said the event was organised into three groups – over-18 male teams, under-18 male teams and female teams.
“Most of these teams and players were new to futsal, but with MRC support are slowly building confidence and capacity to participate in mainstream clubs,” she said.
“For example, the Afghani female teams are the first Afghani female players in Tasmania and have never played in public before.
“The competition was tough and there were many talented players.”
Alongside sporting activities, the event also featured a barbecue lunch and representatives from other service providers including The Link: Youth Health Services, Headspace, Call the Doctor, Futsal Tasmania, The Body Shop and Red Cross.
Caption: The Migrant Resource Centre hosted a futsal competition in July to help build relationships between local and refugee communities.