In 2021 TiraRangatahi (ECCT’s Rangatahi rōpū) provided a grant of $4000 from the Rangatahi-led fund to support SportsFest, an eight-week pilot programme that uses sport and recreation to empower refugee youth.
Over 45 youth from three different refugee communities based in Palmerston North were successfully engaged in the programme. The programme included multisport, hiking, and orienteering.
The benefit of sport and recreation in the communities is well recognized. It can reduce anti-social behaviours, and increase social cohesion, giving participants a sense of community and belonging. It also helps with mental health, reducing the risk of depression and by building self-esteem.
The project was a great success with increased social connection for the attendees, which in turn helped build their confidence. The post event survey showed that of all the attendees, 73% of participants were not previously actively participating in sport, recreation, or play. Furthermore, 100% of participants indicated that providing transport had enabled them to participate in the programme highlighting that it is critical to remove barriers to participation for all.