Playing for Change : Improving People's Lives Through Football

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Abstract
Australia accepts more than 13,000 refugee and humanitarian immigrants annually and young people account for a large overall percentage of the refugee population in New South Wales (NSW). There is evidence that refugee families are highly vulnerable to social isolation in their countries of resettlement. The difficulties of refugee settlement are well documented, including the need to learn new languages, negotiate differing cultural and societal values and address past emotional trauma. Development through sport refers to the use of sporting activities to provide opportunities for personal and community development with effects that go well beyond the sphere of physical activity and [elite] player and game development. In recent years there has been an increase in programs that use sport to foster social development and engagement, however little robust research has been performed to evaluate these efforts. Football United ® was developed from a vision that people’s love for Football (soccer) can be used to build opportunities for belonging, racial harmony and community cohesion. Football United ®’s six years of operations confirms the Crawford report findings, and highlights other effects of inequity in participation: • Gaps in equity of participation in both community and public education sector sport which can contribute to general disaffection within society, including leaving school, aggressive behaviour and unemployment as examples. • Lack of opportunity to interact across cultural groups which can translate to racism and the ensuing problems it provokes. Football United ® addresses these issues basing its foundations on the premise that structural variables and social processes act at multiple levels to impact on health and social behaviour. Results of the study underline Football United ®’s positive impact on participating young people’s sense of self, and appreciation for and engagement with peers from diverse backgrounds. Learning from interviews found unanticipated connections between participating in Football United ® and learning English, positive engagement with school, and building self confidence.
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Author(s)
Bunde-Birouste, Anne
Nathan, Sally
McCarroll, Brad
Kemp, Lynn
Shwe, Tun
Gran Ortega, Marcia
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Publication Year
2012
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Report
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download Football United Brochure.pdf 3.11 MB Adobe Portable Document Format
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