In 2018, SSI merged with Access Community Services, one of Queensland’s leading organisations in settlement and transition, employment and training, social enterprise and youth service. This merger marked the beginning of a new chapter for the two organisations, enabling both to enhance operations and combine services across two states.
One service Access Community Service offers is the unique Multicultural Sports Club (MSC). Using sport-based programs as tools for connection, MSC staff build relationships with newly arrived youth to ensure their needs are met and each person is offered a new opportunity to grow and seek further pathways to successfully settle in Australia.
Tresor Ruzangiza went from participant to soccer coach at the Multicultural Sports Club
Through these programs – team sports, holiday events, competitions, skill-building workshops and training pathways – young people have an opportunity to socialise, meet new people and gain confidence in their new country, as well as the chance to access other support services Access Community Services provides.
The unique model of the MSC and its ability to support successful settlement is something Tresor Ruzangiza has experienced first-hand.
Sport was one of the first things Tresor pursued when he arrived in Australia from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2014.
MSC has always supported him through every task or goal he has wanted to achieve, he said.
“I started playing in the MSC’s Multicultural Football League and from very first day everyone was so welcoming, asking questions like ‘How are going? How is your family? Can we help you with anything?’ and they would always encourage me to have fun as well!
“This was a totally new experience – I have grown up experiencing pain and suffering, which at one point led me to believe life had no meaning – so the love and care shown to me by MSC was very touching.
“I used to be quite shy in public and didn’t have the courage to be able to speak in front of people but MSC has changed all of this. I have improved my English, gained more confidence and been given a chance to fit in with Australian culture.”
Tresor’s journey at the MSC has come full circle, with staff encouraging him to train as a soccer coach and offering him a job.
“Working at the MSC is more than just a job– it is a chance to serve and unite my community, to help other people in need and pass on the same welcome and opportunities the club has given me.”