In late August 2014, girls from the Somalian, Ethiopian, Sudanese, Eritrean, Afghan, Filipino and Indian communities in southeast Melbourne gathered at Oakleigh Indoor Soccer Sports Centre for the SEAAC Girls Soccer Tournament.
Run in partnership with the Craig Family Centre, Victoria Police, City of Monash, Victorian Immigrant Refugee Women's Coalition, Centre for Multicultural Youth, African Women’s Network South East, New Hope Foundation and Sports Without Borders, the event was a huge success and a huge triumph for one particular young women, Iman Farah, who helped coordinate the event.
Farah is 19 years old and has been in Australia since she was 3 years old. With a quiet, gentle demeanor and quintessential Australian accent, Farah explains she was born in Kenya to Somalian parents and now her “very international family” is spread across Kenya, Switzerland and Australia.
Farah is studying youth work at RMIT and wants to work with teenagers because she’s been through those tough transformative years, and when she was growing up she did not have as much support or direction.
As part of her studies, Farah did a work placement at the Craig Family Centre in Ashburton and she came up with the idea to run a soccer tournament especially for girls.
Although Farah describes the experience as a “challenging” because she had never organized anything like it before and she left it to the last minute, the tournament was a huge success.
On 23 August last year it all came together as six teams of seven or eight female players aged 12-25 years old enjoyed a tournament, lunch and opportunity to meet Emma Checker from Coach Approach and Melbourne Victory Soccer Team.
“Emma was a great role model,” says Farah. “One of my cousins liked her so much she now wants to be a soccer player.”
Farah herself is a role model for her efforts to put this tournament on. She recognizes the hard work of the staff at SEAAC, and describes the experience as “awesome, tiring and successful.”
Aside from gaining confidence in organizing community events, Farah was delighted to give her friends and fellow community members the opportunity to play soccer amongst other young female sports enthusiasts.
Sparked by the success of the day, Farah would like to play soccer more regularly, but when asked if she intends to organize a female social soccer league, she laughs and says “not for now” due to her busy study schedule.
This event was partly powered by SWB’s Social Inclusion Through Sports (SITS) program.