TITLE PROJECT: Street basketball for social integration and for the recovery of meeting places for young immigrants.

COMMITTENT: Ministry of Labor and Social Policies

EMPLOYEE: PGS Salesian Youth Sports


DESTINATIVE Lab Workers Foundation: 300 young people, first and second generation Italians and immigrants

DURATION: 18 months

PROJECT OBJECTIVE: promoting social integration for young people of all nationalities through the dissemination of Street Basketball in places of youth aggregation

PROJECTS OF THE PROJECT: The history of great American basketball passes through the playgrounds, the neighborhood pitches in which many of the boys’ idols today’s bones have been made (and broken). At the same time, the history of the segmented ball is intertwined, in the USA, with the story of the progressive emancipation of ethnic minorities: it is one of the most obvious examples of how sport helps to bring entertainment and common passion to the fore, and to conceive differences as resources and not as obstacles to being together.

Street basketball, now increasingly widespread also in Italy, has appeared as a great resource for multicultural integration not only for its history, but above all for its intrinsic nature of “little structured” sport: in the middle there is the play, fun, showmanship; the rules must remain few and essential. What matters is that the athletes get involved, show what they can do, let go; you try to win, but if you lose a little badly, you immediately replay, perhaps mixing the teams. On the field counts the technical preparation, but also and above all the loyalty, honesty, fair play. Those who do not respect these basic rules will find it hard to find their space in the playgrounds.

In order to make the most of the great resource represented by this sport, various actions have been taken as part of the initiative: first, a formative moment for coaches useful to refine the technical skills on street basketball 3 against 3, as well as to reason together with experts on what it means to use sport to promote the integration of young immigrants, and how this can actually be achieved in the specific context of origin. Subsequently, the sports associations have started 3 to 3 basketball sports in 15 Italian regions, involving a total of about 300 children of all nationalities, on average between 13 and 24 years of age. Each association has been able to shape the proposal based on to the needs of its own territory: these are suburban realities, which operate mostly in places of high multi-ethnic density, but with a structural lack of spaces and services dedicated to young people and to sport, which often leads local children to not having the opportunity to practice physical activity, but also only to have a safe and manned space where to meet, get to know each other, create friendships. If we add to this the concrete risk that prejudice, intolerance and racism spread like wildfire in urban areas with little cultural fabric, in many suburbs we see the marginalization, segregation and isolation of foreign boys and girls who often struggle to create relationships outside their own national community (where it is present). 3-on-3 sporting activity was conducted wherever possible within public playgrounds, encouraging children to exploit them but also to take care of them. In doing so, real multicultural groups were born (or expanded), held together by a common passion for sport, but also by belonging to places, to the neighborhood, which perhaps had offered little until then. It is extremely interesting. try to understand what happens within these groups, what favors social integration and what hinders it: to do this we worked on a psychosocial research activity, in which the boys were the protagonists.

To each of them, through questionnaires and group discussions, they were given the opportunity to talk about their sporting and group experience, the benefits they gained, but also the limits. Not only: the different groups were asked what the rules are to follow in order for the playground to really be a space for meeting and integrating different cultures. The results of these activities led to the creation of a 3-on-3 Basketball Manifesto to be used and promoted at the gathering places.

At the end of the project, sporting events were held in each region, with large participation of local youth and their families, without neglecting moments of conviviality and meeting on the sidelines of these. During 3 of these events, in Rome, Milan and Reggio Calabria, the protagonists of those who were among the most active and representative realities met during the project were interviewed.

From these interviews a video documentary was born, of which we can see a summary of the most salient moments:

video pgs

CONTACT PERSON: Anna Calvaruso