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Playground

Playground

 
 
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, 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.

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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.

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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.