Brief description of the organization
Organisation of Friendship in Diversity is a youth-led non-profit organization working in the field of inclusion and diversity to promote the values of cultural understanding, respect, communication and friendship in order to challenge social stigmas in Malta today.
Problem addressed by the good practice
The main goal of the ‘Engaging Youth through Sports’ activity was to engage the youth in an organizational process to pursue a positive sports event, while also encouraging individual personal development and non-formal learning. In addition, the research attempted to evaluate young migrants’ opportunities for engagement with mainstream sports activities in Malta.
The target group includes migrant and refugee youth.
Summary of the good practice
Sports can facilitate social inclusion and integration of migrants and refugees, and team sports in particular can facilitate the development of team-building skills and intercultural skills in mixed teams. Previous research has revealed interest and demand for sports activities among young refugees and migrants. This pilot activity attempted to examine the impact of organizing separate team sports events with migrant and refugee young people using non-formal education in Malta. The implementation involved three levels of engagement with the focus group, including (a) group conversation to identify what sports activities participants would be interested in pursuing; (b) face-to-face conversation to gain more insights about individuals’ interests and experiences with mainstream sports activities in Malta; and (c) collaborative organization of four football tournaments where the refugee and migrant youth played the dominant role.
The three levels of engagement listed above represent a youth-centered and intercultural approach that eventually facilitated a dialogue with youngsters, in which they were comfortable to express their feelings of helplessness and powerlessness in influencing some aspects of their life in Malta. Some reasons why the youngsters would not give sports a try include fear of discrimination and unfair treatment based on racial prejudices, the lack of role models (mentors), and language barriers. Nevertheless, the youngsters are generally enthusiastic about participation in football tournaments and some would even take it up as a future career.
The research encourages greater participation of young migrants and refugees in sports activities and suggests that the government authorities consider advancing sports infrastructure near the main accommodation centers.
More information about the Engaging Youth through Sports activity is available on the organization’s FB group.