Together with Molde voksenopplæringssenter, the second-year students in the Sport Management bachelor program work on a socially inclusive project with current refugees. Although it is a real pilot project, it already now turns out to be a win-win cooperation.
By RAPHAELA OSSBERGER (text & photo)
At the moment, about 400 refugees are engaged in the introductory program at Molde voksenopplæringssenter, the adult education institute. Language and intercultural barriers are not the only issues for them.
“Many of the people don’t have any contact with Norwegians here, apart from us teachers at Voksenopplæringssenteret. When HiMolde contacted us, we were really happy that they want to cooperate with us”, says Ivar Øverland, one of the teachers in Norwegian language and culture for the refugees.
As part of their third semester at HiMolde, the students take a course in “Managing Sports for Development”, run by associate professor Solveig Straume. Apart from theoretical lectures on Sports for Development policy and project management, this year the students are asked to put that knowledge into practice and work on an initiative that helps to integrate local refugees in Molde. About 30 of them, mainly from Syria and Eritrea, who are enrolled in the two-year program at the voksenopplæringssenter, will finally participate in the project.
A first get-together revealed that most of the people from the introductory program are interested in sports and nutrition and want to get to know the Norwegian culture. After that, the students were divided into six groups and each group had to set up an activity project that meets those interests, and one proposal would be fulfilled together with the refugees.
In a final voting, both students and refugees decided that the suggestion of Håkon Meisingset Solheim, Femke Luijten, Carolin Mitter and Erlend Holmlund was the best and will be executed coming Friday at Idrettens Hus and the university.
“We will have typical 17th of May-activities, like a potato race and a sack race, afterwards we will play volleyball and football, and everyone will bring food for an international lunch”, Håkon reveals.
“Also, Molde FK provided us with tickets for their match against Sarpsborg on 27th of November where we will go altogether, students and refugees”, Carolin tells.
It has been about one month that she and her group members worked on that project.
It is the first time that Sport Management students cooperate with the refugees as part of their studies, but already now it turns out to be beneficial for both sides. Solveig Straume, who is responsible for the course and established the cooperation with Molde voksenopplæringssenter, explains that “most of the people from abroad have kids who attend sports clubs in Molde. The idea is therefore to show the students that this is actually a group they will have to work with in their professional life. But also, it is the students themselves who are responsible for the project.”
At Molde voksenopplæringssenter, the teachers of the refugees hope that this will be continued in the future, since it seems to be a comfortable way for the integration. The event on Friday will once more put the theory into practice, even with a worthy cause.