“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand.” – Nelson Mandela

Sport is a powerful platform for connecting people, building friendships and developing a range of important life skills. AIYA Victoria and their sports teams the Krakatoas, as well as a new project, Netball Indonesia, are doing exactly this.

The Krakatoas

While AIYA Victoria has run many popular sporting events such as rock climbing, archery, football and soccer spectating, and grand final day barbecues, the Krakatoas Australian Rules Football Club was the first initiative to give AIYA members a regular and organised opportunity to engage directly in Australian sport. Born from the minds of passionate sports men and women, the Krakatoas Football Club has seen dozens of Indonesians and Australians share in the experience of being part of a football team. For AIYA members seeking to build meaningful connections between young Australians and Indonesians, football has been the perfect medium. It has built strong friendships, improved the individual confidence and health of its members, and given Indonesians a chance to truly engage with Australian culture in a safe and supportive environment.

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The Krakatoa Netball Team. Photo: AIYA Vic

Building on the success of its football program, AIYA Vic has looked to netball as a natural ‘next step’ for the Krakatoas. Netball is one of Australia’s largest sports in terms of participants, with a largely female playing base and viewership. It provides an equally powerful alternative to AFL football, is highly inclusive for women and easily accessible in various social competitions throughout Australia. After only a few training sessions, the newly formed team began its competitive career in a social competition at Flagstaff Gardens. Despite a very steep learning curve, the team continues to demonstrate its enthusiasm, regularly showing up to games in the face of a cruel Victorian winter.

The recent decision to collaborate with Netball Indonesia is an exciting new opportunity, one which Krakatoas Netballers have grasped with two hands. AIYA Vic and the Krakatoas look forward to seeing the game grow in Indonesia, and to seeing first-hand the many positive impacts it has on its Indonesian and Australian players.

Netball Indonesia: empowering women through netball

photo 4(1)Netball Indonesia is a newly developed project, supported by the Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII) through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), founded by Meisha Grant and Rebecca Lambert. The project aims to empower women by promoting women’s participation in sport and changing perceptions about women’s capabilities. Netball Indonesia will also deepen people-to-people links, strengthening the bilateral relationship between Australia and Indonesia through netball.

Rebecca and Meisha met in 2015 when they were both selected to represent Australia as delegates for the Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program (AIYEP), where they spent just over two months living and working in West Kalimantan. During their time there, one month was spent living in a rural Indonesian village (Desa Lumbang) doing community development work including projects related to health, education, water management, the environment and sports. Throughout this time, the benefits of sports (beyond physical and mental) became obvious – in building friendships, deepening people-to-people relationships, and its unique ability to connect people in ways that little else can. Rebecca and Meisha felt inspired to leverage from their experiences and were eager to continue engagement with a country that they both feel passionately about – Indonesia. Given both girls have a background in netball, and are aware of the benefits netball has for women’s empowerment, they decided to create their own project – Netball Indonesia.

The project will provide the opportunity for ten Australian netball representatives to expand their leadership, cross-cultural understanding and netball skills through volunteering in Lombok. The project will also empower young Indonesian women through teaching them netball, which provides a safe space for women to develop skills and knowledge including leadership, teamwork, self-confidence, solidarity and other important life skills. The benefits of netball are vast, some of which include encouraging an active lifestyle, promoting health and wellbeing as well as civic and community engagement.

Rebecca and Meisha are excited to embark on this journey, to connect people and cultures through sport and to inspire, and be inspired, by other women.

If you’re interested in following their journey, like their Facebook page Netball Indonesia, follow their Instagram (@netballindonesia) or visit their website. To contact Rebecca and Meisha, email [email protected] or message via Facebook.