Making sport an engine for change and a tool for combating educational poverty
As part of the Sport for Change programme, Fondazione Milan created ‘From Milan to the World‘, the contest-initiative in partnership with PUMA that saw the participation of six non-profit associations from all continents.
Representing Oceania, the Centre for Multicultural Youth, active in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, took part in the charity contest. The main focus of the organisation’s work is to offer support to people, and in particular young people, from a migrant background, who must therefore face the process of integration and adaptation to the Australian reality, often very different from that of their countries of origin.
The events of recent decades, including the humanitarian crises in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, have led to waves of refugees and asylum seekers flooding into the West to build a better future and escape the horrors of conflict. The integration of minorities, in Australia as in the rest of the world, has therefore become a major issue, as has the social, economic and logistical impact of migration flows. However, no less important are the difficulties and discomfort that newly-arrived individuals and families face, the cultural, social and linguistic barriers that often end up excluding them from the life of the community of reference, depriving them of any opportunity for leisure, socialisation and active participation.
In this regard, for 30 years the Centre for Multicultural Youth has been offering services to support people from migrant backgrounds, with a particular focus on young people, who are often excluded from the school circuit of their peers, and therefore lack quality educational and recreational opportunities that can allow them to develop their talents and their potential. Recognising the important role of sport as a transversal educational tool, the organisation includes football among its activities, thanks to the Welcome Football programme, an initiative that uses the intrinsic power of sport to encourage the socialisation, growth and integration of young migrants. Through football, young people have the opportunity to become part of a network of peers, to learn the language more quickly, to lay the foundations for lasting friendships, as well as to learn important life skills and to exchange information and knowledge about the culture and society they are entering.
The main beneficiaries of the project are 200 families, each with an average of two children, from countries such as Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan, living in Melbourne’s suburbs. The children who will have the opportunity to participate in the Welcome Football programme are aged between 12 and 17.