Expanding horizons for young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds – connecting through to the art, stories and experiences in sport and life.
Ahilan Ratnamohan conducted workshops with young migrants and refugees at The Huddle when he visited the Arts House to perform SDS1. As an experienced player and performer from western Sydney, Ahil connects with young people through games, talk, soccer and movement. Ahil on Vimeo
Ahil’s soccer and movement workshops are superb. Over a day at The Huddle, a group of 30 young people from 3 schools and some only recently arrived in Australia, enjoyed hearing about Ahil’s life, viewing his performance work and doing a skills-based workshop.
There was one person that Ahil connected with, which was potentially life changing. I hadn’t met him before as he is in community detention in Melbourne and is soon to return to Nauru. He is allowed out of detention to attend school but little else.
Initially he had a negative demeanour and behaviours, and we were not sure that he would join in the activities at all. Overall, he painted the very grim picture that we imagine when we think of young men, trapped within a system and disempowered.
Thanks to Ahil, he made sure to connect with this person and learn about his prowess in sport in his home country, Iran, and of his love for soccer. Once he found a point of connection, he came to life and joined the workshop.
Afterwards, Ahil offered to see whether there is any possibility of him joining a team to train for the short time he is in Melbourne – a small but important gesture towards helping someone to feel valued and connected to community.
Having worked with sports people here and in Europe, Ahil understands the migrant/refugee experience so well. He picked up on the group’s interests intuitively and it was very beneficial for them to work with someone who lives and works globally, who blends genres and languages, respects cultures and welcomes everyone so effortlessly.