Sport and recreation is helping unite communities and promote wellbeing as Melbourne becomes more and more culturally diverse.

The Oromo Sports Federation – representing the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia – is behind an annual soccer tournament at Kensington’s JJ Holland reserve.

Soccer is Ethiopia’s most popular game, but for organiser Fatah Harun and his team, this event is about much more than sport.

‘My favourite part is always seeing the kids running around and having the time of their lives.’

‘I came to Melbourne with my family in the late 1980s, and I remember attending this tournament as a kid with my parents. It’s been running for 15 years, so it’s really important to us,’ Fatah said.

‘As our community gets bigger, people tend to go their separate ways, so this is a great chance for families to come together. It’s the biggest community event we have.’

The City of Melbourne has provided a grant towards the next tournament, which is a week-long event with a festival feel.

‘Many people in our community have their minds on the political tension back home, so the grant will really help us bring the community together,’ Fatah said.

‘The funds will be used to provide kids with free uniforms, so they can feel part of a team, official referees, marquees, music, a jumping castle, medals for all the kids, and lots more.

‘My favourite part is always seeing the kids running around and having the time of their lives. I don’t care who wins the game. As long as they’re smiling, that’s all that matters.’

Did you know that, in the City of Melbourne, more people speak a language other than English at home than those who speak English? Discover more about your community through the many wonderful events on offer this Cultural Diversity Week, which runs from 17 to 25 March 2018.

Read more about Cultural Diversity Week

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