Asetts, Perth, Australia
Future In Our Hands was a project designed as a means of collective recovery for a group of Afghan young women who are survivors of torture or trauma. I arrived in Perth as a teenager, under the humanitarian visa stream and later initiated the project to help those
with a background similar to my own. The aim was to improve our physical and mental wellbeing, and develop the confidence to build social connections. I mobilized 20 young women from my community and contacted Volleyball WA, who provided some free training and recommended, we apply for funding from Western Australia’s Department of Sport and Recreation. Staff at ASeTTS, WA’s refugee trauma-rehabilitation agency, then helped us design the project and apply for the grant.
After we had secured the grant, however, we faced challenges implementing the project. Our families disapproved of girls playing sport and sections in the community caused internal divisions, and some young women left the group as a result. To address this, we designed a strategy, with the support of ASeTTS and Volleyball WA. We held gatherings at members’ homes to help parents understand the value of the project, and organised excursions to improve the connections among us. We also attended a two-day workshop called Alternatives to Violence and learned about resolving conflict.
The grant enabled us to hire a volleyball court on a weekly basis and engage a coach. We went on to participate in the West Australian day volleyball competition and in the ‘Country of Origin’ championship. Four group members also completed a volleyball coaching course, and two members completed a referee course.
The group still engages in activities together, having created a strong bond through our challenges and successes. We have improved our confidence, and enhanced our connections with people within and outside of our community.