Multiculturalism and cricket were celebrated today at the Art Gallery of NSW where the NSW Minister for Citizenship and Communities, The Hon. Victor Dominello MP, launched Cricket NSW’s Mosaic Programs.
Mosaic Programs is a bold new strategy designed to attract and engage children from non-traditional cricket backgrounds. It focuses on the grassroots by providing opportunities for boys and girls from all backgrounds to be involved in Australia’s favourite sport.
Mosaic Programs is a valuable tool for Cricket NSW to help grow the sport in this State.
Recent census data indicates that one in four Australians are migrants with almost one in eight coming from Asia. The Chinese community is the third largest migrant community in Australia and growing, while there are also a number of new emerging communities from countries such as Sudan, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Strategy has a particular focus on Greater Western Sydney with statistics showing that the region is the most popular choice of residence for Australia’s newest arrivals, with one third of the region’s population born overseas. Over 70 different languages are also spoken in the area.
Driven by Cricket NSW Emerging Markets Leader, Sam Almaliki, who himself is a former refugee from Iraq and a dedicated local cricket administrator, Mosaic Programs seek to deliver a range of initiatives throughout the State designed to make cricket more accessible to multicultural communities.
This includes delivering skills programs at targeted schools with large populations of students from a Non English speaking background, and assisting clubs and schools with running MILO in2CRICKET Programs for boys and girls from multicultural communities.
These MILO in2CRICKET Programs have been a particular success, with winter programs run in Blacktown, Northmead, Hurstville, Riverwood and Coffs Harbour in recent months.
The Program at Coffs Harbour Primary School introduced 26 new kids to cricket, 25 of whom were refugees, while over 100 kids attended the centre at Riverwood from 17 different cultural backgrounds.
Cricket NSW Game Development General Manager, Cameron French, said the Mosaic Programs were all about embracing diversity.
“In addition to delivering skills based programs, it is just as important that cricket administrators at all levels are educated to understand the different values and beliefs that sometimes prevent boys and girls from non-traditional cricket backgrounds from getting involved with the sport,” he explained.
“Cricket needs to be flexible with its programs, especially at the grassroots, to help break down any barriers to participation that may exist. That is why Cricket NSW will be providing Cultural Diversity Training to its staff, officials and junior clubs as an important feature of Mosaic Programs.”
Cricket NSW has also engaged several high profile players and community leaders to act as ambassadors for Mosaic Programs. They are:
Moises Henriques (NSW SpeedBlitz Blues player)
Tim Cruickshank (NSW SpeedBlitz Blues player)
Lisa Sthalekar (Lend Lease Breakers player)
Gurinder Sandhu (NSW SpeedBlitz Blues)
The Hon. Morris Iemma (former NSW Premier and Club Cricket Administrator)
Nihal Gupta (Chairperson of Multicultural Business Advisory Panel)
Dai Le (NSW Community Relations Commission)
Gerard Abood (National Panel Umpire)
Anna Liu (Parent and Educator)
Harry Solomons (Owner of Kingsgrove Sports Centre)
Avi Selvarajah (President – Voice of the Tamils)
Khadar Roude (Training Specialist)
Ryan Hutton (Businessman)
All of the ambassadors are passionate fans of cricket and represent a number of different heritages.