(Left, back) Anil Bhakta, Arti Pandya, Luis Arroyo, Jenny Cockerill, Darshak Pandya, Kay Daniel, organiser Lyndal Hansen, Nandini Bhakta, (front left) Crystal McGregor, Natalia Muszkat and Chetna Dave participate in the information night to address migrants’ sporting needs.
(Left, back) Anil Bhakta, Arti Pandya, Luis Arroyo, Jenny Cockerill, Darshak Pandya, Kay Daniel, organiser Lyndal Hansen, Nandini Bhakta, (front left) Crystal McGregor, Natalia Muszkat and Chetna Dave participate in the information night to address migrants’ sporting needs.

Migrants involved in community

AUSTRALIA is a sport-mad nation, and it could be argued Gladstone is even madder, but the open arms we have for sport could also be the perfect path for migrants to become involved in the community.

A sporting information night was held this week by the Women's Health Centre in conjunction with the Gladstone Region's Healthy Active program.

A small group gathered to hear about sporting opportunities as well as learn about the sports played in Australia, and also to discuss some of the hurdles to participation.

Project co-ordinator Lyndal Hansen said even at this early stage she was pleased with the outcomes from the first night.

Ms Hansen said the needs of migrants were identified.

One of the major problems facing migrants is their inability to swim, Ms Hansen said, and a learn-to-swim program to cater for this could be easily implemented.

“This is one of a number of strategies we can put in place straight away that aren't difficult to do,” Ms Hansen said.

“We also spoke about some of the activities they played at home, and a lot are games that don't have high expense.”

Natalia Muszkat, a member of the Women's Intercultural Network, moved to Australia from Argentina in 1999 and arrived in Gladstone in 2007.

She joined the network as a way of doing something proactive, and believes the program will be beneficial.

“The idea is to integrate them into the sports we have in a way that will also help them integrate into the community,” Ms Muszkat said.

“The other area of the program is to help the clubs understand the needs of the migrants.”

Ms Hansen said one attendee was shy about volunteering with a sporting club, as they were worried people could not understand them.

Sessions will be held with local sporting clubs to assist them in dealing with migrants.

“They may not always know they are expected to volunteer,” Ms Muszkat said.

Ms Hansen said this was an aspect of Australian sport little understood by migrants, who hadn't experienced this in their home countries.



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