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Freedom, Friendship and Football

Adip and Kshitiz fled with their families from Bhutan and arrived in Adelaide, Australia. With limited social connections and being in a new community ADFC faced many challenges yet football represented friendship and freedom and provided a safe space to forget about the challenges of building a new life in Australia. Football was everything to them and it provided an opportunity to forget about the challenges, to make friends and to do something they loved.

Adelaide Dragon Football Club (ADFC) originally formed as an informal group of young Bhutanese refugees who had resettled in Adelaide, South Australia but they did not have a regular space that they could practice and were not sure how to become part of the local club. To do this they would need support and to find the answers they needed.

They found out about HOST International's Community Capacity Building project funded by the Australian Department of Home Affairs to provide support to community groups that are from a refugee background or want to better support migrant newcomers. HOST provides coaching services to support groups to develop goals and strategies and then guides them in the implementation.

Supported by HOST, ADFC have undergone a significant transformation and are now affiliated members of the South Australian Amateur Soccer League (SAAL) and participate in their tournaments. Host supported ADFC to reach their vision and goals through a variety of different community capacity building strategies underpinned by co-design principles. This included community consultation, strategic planning, training, mentoring, and fundraising, all of which contributed to ADFC becoming incorporated as an independent organisation in 2020.

As part of their journey, ADFC were successfully supported to develop partnerships with mainstream organisations which have been instrumental in facilitating the ongoing growth and sustainability of the team. They were also supported to secure a grant and sponsorship funding as well as access to a sporting ground and facilities with the assistance of an Elected Member of the team’s Local Council.

Within a short period of time, HOST engaged with this group of young Bhutanese refugees who simply wanted to play soccer but could not navigate the barriers preventing them. Today, the same young people, manage their own incorporated body, are culturally inclusive and looking to form a female soccer team. They have the ability to raise their own funding, and they have a regular sporting ground to play, meet and call their own. HOST are extremely proud that ADFC have successfully demonstrated to other young people what can be achieved with the right support.

If you would like to find out more about HOST International's work in Adelaide or elsewhere, please look through this site or contact our Adelaide office.

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