African Youth and CALD Soccer Tournament and Community Festival 2016

HARDA (Horn of Africa Relief and Development Agency of Australia) successfully conducted an African Youth and CALD Soccer Tournament and Community Festival in 2016. The purpose of this event was to celebrate our cultural diversity and bring our diverse African and CALD communities together in order to showcase the benefits of cultural diversity, promoting social cohesion and community harmony. The African and CALD Youth Soccer Tournament and Community Festival contributed to the development of an appreciation for cultural diversity within football (soccer) and the wider community.

The African and CALD Youth Soccer Tournament and Community Festival took place from Oct – Dec 2016 at Progress Park, Auburn, NSW. A group of 20 young people aged between 18-24 from Western Sydney region travelled to Melbourne in December 2016 to further participate in the annual Australian Somali Football Association (ASFA) tournament. The Sydney youth were victorious in winning the Open Men’s competition.

We would like to thank the Multicultural NSW for their support in this project.

Here is the highlights video for the 2016 United through Football Festival video:

2016 African and CALD Youth Mentoring Outreach Program

HARDA, in-conjunction with Auburn Sports Club, again ran its successful African and CALD Youth Mentoring Program for African and CALD youth from the Western and South-Western Sydney region. This program was initiated due to the lack of access to culturally appropriate mentoring, health and sporting workshops, which we believed was a major barrier for newly arrived refugees, migrants and CALD youth.

HARDA successfully engaged with young African and CALD participants to develop a leadership/mentoring program with the support of the local community elders, youth centres and law enforcement agencies e.g. NSW Police and the AFP. These were run alongside weekly soccer sessions attended by the youth.

The successful outcomes of the African and CALD Youth Mentoring Project were:

  1. Improved social cohesion and harmony amongst African and CALD young people through our peer to peer mentoring and soccer program
  2. Networks created and relationships built between young people of culturally diverse communities
  3. Better resilience against racism
  4. Increased intergenerational understanding in culturally diverse communities

We would like to thank Multicultural NSW and in particular the Unity Grant funding for their support for this very successful project. The Program culminated in an African Youth and CALD Soccer Tournament and Community Festival.

Harmony through Creativity project

This youth engagement project was run in partnership with Football United sponsored by UNSW and funded by a grant from the NSW Government Community Relations Commission. The main event was a 3-day camp at the YMCA, Springwood from 29 Nov 2013 to 1st Dec 2013. 38 young persons of both genders and multi faiths took part in team building workshops and various sport activities. It was very successful and while a lot of fun was had by all the participants, it also fostered social integration and increased mutual understanding.

Building Community Resilience – Somali Youth Outreach Program 2011/12 & 2012/13

This very successful program was run for the second year by HARDA & Auburn Sports Club and supported by the Attorney-General’s Building Community Resilience Program. It encouraged young Somali participants to develop their leadership skills through sporting and community activities. The activities were supported by the local community, youth centres, law enforcement agencies and locally based organisations.

This program, funded by the Federal Attorney-General’s Department and actively supported by the Australian Federal Police, was one of most successful that HARDA has ever conducted. Much of the credit for this must go to HARDA’s former President, Mohammed Omar, whose brain child it was. He designed it, wrote the submission for funding and took the lead role in it. It was run in both 2011/12 and 2012/13.

Under his leadership there was considerable enthusiasm about the program. Steering committee members included Football United Community Engagement Coordinator Assmaah Helal; FAIR President Kuranda Seyit; and the Australian Somalia Community Association (ASCA) President Mohamed Ibrahim.

Many of the young people who were recruited to join the program had been identified confidentially as being ‘at risk’ by members of the Somali and CALD communities, youth centres, school counsellors, law enforcement agencies and the juvenile justice network in the Western and South-Western suburbs of Sydney. The definition of ‘at risk’ included young people who had become alienated from school, families, their own and wider communities and who were disengaged to the extent that they might be prone to intolerant or extremist views or ideologies.

Mentors were recruited from the Somali and broader community networks, trained and allocated to Somali and CALD youth on a one-on-one basis for periods varying from six to nine months. In November and December the thirty five participants also attended workshops and participated in discussions on topics which ranged from law enforcement (conducted by Leanne Raiser from the Australian Federal Police) to workshops on resume/CV writing and job interview skills. Workshops were conducted in a culturally sensitive environment with the paramount objective of demonstrating to Somali and CALD youth that they can be supported to gain pride and satisfaction from participation within the wider society.

The highlight of the program in 2012 annd 2013 was the Melbourne trip. Some twenty Somali youths, accompanied by their mentors, travelled south in a chartered bus and were accommodated for seven days over the Christmas-New Year period at Urban Camp Melbourne. During the week the Sydney Stars Somali team competed in the grandly titled ‘African Cup of Nations’ (a local version of the real thing which is the premier football tournament in Africa).

During the second half of January Football United conducted coaching clinics for the soccer enthusiasts and post camp workshops were held from Jan to April. In 2013 these included Law enforcement Issues, Healthy Living and Leadership workshops.

To wrap up the 2012/2013 HARDA Somali Youth Outreach Program, a 3 day Family Fun Weekend and Community Cup Soccer Tournament was conducted in conjunction with Auburn Sports Club. It was an 8 team competition with three coming from interstate (2 from Melbourne and 1 from Brisbane). Over 300 people attended each of the days. There were jumping castles for the kids, mother’s picnic area and free sausage sizzle for all attendees. The guest appearance of Yusuf Hersi and Tarek Elriche from the Western Sydney Wanderers was the highlight of the three days. Both players spent around 2 hours talking to the young people and answering questions about the road to success. The eventual winners of the 3 day competition were the Auburn Sports Club team who defeated the Sydney Somali Youth 3-2 in a thrilling final. All in all, a wonderful 3 days were had by all.

A final evaluation activity completed the formal program in 2013 which wrapped up with a barbecue and catch up session in May.

Youth Employment and Careers Expo and Mentoring Program

This joint venture with the Muslim Student Association was launched with the Expo on Saturday 24th July 2010. The Expo was an outstanding success, attended by more than 700 young people and supported by volunteers from professions, trades and numerous organisations and agencies, including TAFE, the ATO and the NSW Police service. More than fifty students and job seekers subsequently participated in an ongoing mentoring program. The project was completed with a presentation of certificates to mentees in November

Girls Social Justice DSR Camp

This camp was conducted over three days at Milson Island, for thirty girls from the Horn of Africa Countries living on Western Sydney. The girls were aged between fourteen and nineteen. The aims of the camp were to promote social coherence, skills, harmony and unity, to develop a sense of community, of belonging, to build leadership skills and to present an interactive program on women’s health and rights. Post camp evaluation indicated that the goals had been met and that the camp was very successful, with all the girls and wonderful volunteers much enjoying it.

This camp was sponsored by  The NSW Department of Sport and Recreation.

DIAC Boys Camp & Community project

The five day residential program was conducted at the Mangrove Mountain Camp and attended by  thirty eight 15 to 18 year old youths from the Horn of Africa countries living in Western Sydney. It was designed with specific aims and objectives for the boys such as the promotion of social coherence, harmony and security and the development of a sense of community responsibility and leadership skills.  It was followed by the community service program at the Exodus Foundation’s ‘Loaves and Fishes’ canteen. The Project was funded by a grant of $18,000 from DIAC who were provided progress and final reports and financial acquittal.

The Auburn Football Cultural Diversity Project

This program was about developing and refining soccer skills and a sense of community. Leading soccer coaches volunteered their services, uniforms and equipment were purchased and a junior soccer club identity was established. The program was funded by DIAC under the Living in Harmony program and supported by the NSW Department of Sport & Recreation and the Auburn Council.