Dream Building Fund Projects Making Progress - Part 1
In January 2019, the first edition of the table tennis #DreamBuilding Fund had been launched and six successful projects from across Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America were selected. As we continue to provide support and guidance, we also hope to highlight their milestones and progress. Read on!
Balls That Tackle Frontiers, Ecuador
Communities near the northern Ecuador border are facing a huge burden due to the mobility crisis after huge refugee populations fled into the area. This has in some cases caused discrimination and stigma resulting in division and non-cooperation between communities, families and the young people involved. Therefore, fostering cohesion has been of major importance. Fundación de las Américas para el Desarrollo (FUDELA), our Dream Building project partner in Ecuador setup visits and activities so far in Quito, Santo Domingo, Ibarra and Lago Agrio.
They conducted their first annual workshop in Yaguarcocha in the Imbabura province, where table tennis for development trainers and young leaders attended courses to gain news skills in the use of table tennis as a vehicle of change with the objective of promoting quality education and reducing inequalities that may be existing within the project’s localities. A total 45 people participated in this initial workshop including 25% youth leaders, 58% women and 60% trainers (coaches, local coordinators). The workshop also included practical and interactive sessions to explore how the values of respect, communication and inclusion can be applied in different community settings, using available resources in the different locations.
“These tools are going to be positive and an excellent mechanism to teach teamwork and respect for us in Esmeraldas. The group is very active & enjoying the courses” Ruby Montaño, Community Trainer, Esmeraldas
FUDELA also held a Table Tennis Festival as part of the ‘A Ganar’ livelihoods program to form stronger linkages between Ecuadorian citizens and the refugee population in Ecuador through the involvement of families and communities in integration efforts. A total of 250 people from Quito attended the festival, 80% of whom were parents, friends and neighboring community, as well as 24 young people with a refugee background. With support from the UNHCR, project staff also provided soft and technical skills to help empower the 40 young people participating for entrepreneurship and employment. ‘Success Pong’ was all about tackling fear and aiming for success through creativity, adapting to change, communicating, being consistent and passionate as well as setting clear goals.
“The Festival was a great chance to show what we have learnt for the past 3 months. ‘Success Pong’ was amazing and challenging at the same time” Alejandra, Colombian refugee
Our Dream Building project partner in Kenya is Talent4Development, a project that aims to find a sustainable solution to integrate and develop opportunities for the Mathare slum children through table tennis, coaching and education.
Kicking off with an inauguration event that attracted the attention of the local community, including coaches, school sports teachers, kids and their family members. As a result, 64 children from 8 different schools within the community took part in the weekly training sessions. Alongside the weekly trainings, a coaching program also takes place, with demand significantly increasing, particularly from young people aged 18-30 years. While promoting gender equality and life-long learning opportunities for all, Talent4Development has ensured the participation of children from different tribes, religion, background and level of ability by instilling discipline, teamwork and respect. Youth participating in the coaching program have been very eager to learn how to run small sports for development programs and improve their table tennis performance skills aiming to achieve the level one ITTF coaching certificate. This would contribute greatly towards their employability prospects enabling them to enjoy decent work and productive employment. The kids have also able been learning values of inclusion, healthy habits, life skills and enjoyment as well as the rules of competitions and conduct, as they are looking forward to participating in tournaments outside the slum which will be a valuable experience for them.
Collaboration has also been fostered with other partners including the Nairobi City Stadium Table Tennis club, Lorenzo Luzuriaga Madrid school and the European University of Madrid; these partnerships are key to offering more support through expertise, best practices and volunteering opportunities for cultural and academic sports exchange.
Refugee Integration Through Table Tennis, Netherlands
Ping Pong Alkmaar (PPA) provides table tennis activities in Alkmaar with a focus on breaking down barriers, prejudices and stereotypes of underrepresented people, mainly migrants and refugees, thereby encouraging integration and reducing inequalities. PPA is also our 2019 Dream Building project partner.
A new feature at PPA has been the Wednesday evening community session which aims at integrating migrants and refugees. Yousef Alsalama, a young competitive table tennis player at PPA has been assisting newcomers and coaches by acting as a translator. Yousef has also helped to motivate some the 30 students aged between 12 and 18 years from refugee background who are part of the project through demonstrating table tennis techniques. The students have completed 6 sessions so far that took place at the Petrus Canisius College.
“These are very enthusiastic youngsters – both the boys and girls” Mark Smith, Project Leader.
Training sessions have also been running for new table tennis players joining the Club who come from different backgrounds and ages to promote high performance skills through the coaching sessions.
With more outreach activities and workshops planned, Ping Pong Alkmaar is aiming to maximize the effectiveness of the coaching sessions to both the refugee and local community, promoting integration and friendliness within the local community.