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User Generated Providing unity and belonging through culture and sports

Posted by Lavinia Uhila

Young Pacific Islanders gather in Melbourne for sport and community

Leaving behind all the people that you love the most, and moving to foreign unfamiliar surroundings was the scariest yet biggest sacrifice, my family and I had made when we decided to move here to Melbourne, Australia 13 months ago. We had very little family here, and had never been to Melbourne, yet our faith and trust in search for a better life provided my husband and I enough of an incentive to make this huge sacrifice.

Within two months of arriving, we settled in our beautiful home, my husband found a job and my five children in Kinder, Childcare and Primary school. I had no close relatives nearby, let alone any friends. Luckily, my husband and I have a strong background of sports and culture, so we kept our sanity by organizing mini sporting outings with families. This lead me to an idea. I did some research around my local community and had found that there were many Pacific Islander families, who like myself had migrated from NZ, Samoa, and Tonga. Many of them, only knew each other in passing but not by name. In my research I had found that all shared the common interest in Sport – Rugby, Volleyball, Netball and Touch. This inspired me to venture into incorporating a non-profitable community business called PASIFIKA SPORTS ASSOCIATION INC. Our organization started in March 2010, holding once a month a Sports night event at RMIT Bundoora Sports Centre. It’s purpose was to solely unite all the Pacific Islanders around the community through sports, and because of the huge success, we’ve now had to hold the Pasifika sports nights twice a month. Our board are made up of 11 dedicated and honorable Pacific Islanders from within the local community who purely give up their family time to help me and my husband fulfill and share the same vision.

We will be holding our first big sporting tournament in August 2010 – Social Volleyball Tournament and encourage all Pacific Islanders who enjoy Volleyball to participate in this golden opportunity. Our goal is to rotate around surrounding communities to hold sporting events abroad for Pasifika families who live outside our local area. This way our organization will assist all around Melbourne Areas and will continue to form unity and belonging for all Pacific Islanders through sports and culture.

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