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playground training

Playground training session, Rabat 2013 // Picture by Nganji Laeh

When on a basketball court, you’re neither big or small. Neither boy or girl. Neither migrant or refugee. You’re a member of a team. Individuality makes space for the collective.

Under the motto “all different but all the same” the first Playground project, was launched in Rabat, Morocco, in 2012. A group of young migrants and refugees teamed up with local coaches and UNHCR to organise a 3×3 basketball training program and tournament.

The goal? Breaking down barriers between local communities and migrants. And to increase social cohesion beyond cultural differences.


The original formula

The Playground concept is as simple as it is effective. Think 8 weeks of 3×3 basketball training sessions on public courts in 4 popular neighborhoods, completely free of charge. 250 girls and boys from over 10 countries participated. 8 basketball coaches were recruited and trained: four of them women, four of them of Sub-Saharan origin.


Playground is a common name for 3×3 basketball, a simplified version of the game, played on half courts. It’s a more flexible variant, with space for individual creative expression. On court, physical and social barriers disappear, allowing vulnerable migrant kids to practice alongside local peers.

After 8 weeks of training, mixed teams from the 4 areas compete at a tournament. Other cultural and entertainment activities are organised by volunteers. Local communities support their teams to take the trophy home, transforming disadvantaged young migrants into local heroes.