Issue 1
Monday, 15 February 2016
Charles Darwin University
Pat Sim is the Darwin co-ordinator of Football Without Borders
Pat Sim is the Darwin co-ordinator of Football Without Borders

Football program receives diversity award

By Leanne Miles

A program aiming to instil a sense of community and build the confidence of new residents to the Territory has won a NT Human Rights Award.

Charles Darwin University Humanitarian and Communities Studies student Pat Sim is the Darwin co-ordinator of “Football Without Borders”, a program that aims to break down social barriers and build cultural ties.

The program was awarded as joint winner of the Fitzgerald Diversity Award alongside Somerville Community Service - Workplace Diversity Group.

The Fitzgerald Diversity Award is for individuals or organisations whose activities focus on promoting, protecting and fulfilling human rights of diverse communities in the Northern Territory.   

Pat was inspired to study with CDU after travelling to Africa to volunteer in an orphanage and HIV clinic in Rwanda. Alongside his studies he volunteers with the Red Cross working with asylum seekers and refugees in Darwin.

He said that like many people moving to a new community, refugees often felt isolated.

“This program is about providing an opportunity to build ties within the community, create networks and build the confidence to take back control of their lives,” Pat said.

He said whenever he visited a new town in Africa he brought a football or basketball to break the ice with the community.

“Sport is a great vehicle for social interaction and football is a game known throughout the world,” he said. “Everyone knows how to play, it breaks down barriers, brings people together and helps people communicate.”

He said that working on the program alongside his studies would provide him with the skills to work with refugees in the future.

“It is difficult to understand what people have been through when you haven’t been in their situation,” he said. “My studies with CDU are helping me build my capacity and practical skills to ensure I am prepared, and can help in the best possible way.”

The “Football Without Borders” program is a collaboration with CDU, Red Cross, Football Federation NT and the Melaleuca Refugee Centre.