MIES - On World Refugee Day (20 June), the International Basketball Foundation would like to show their support for refugees and share TamTam Basketball's story.
TamTam Basketball is an association created by Massimo Antonelli in 2016 in Castel Volturno, after he saw a need to integrate refugees and give them the opportunity to play sports.
"I have founded the non-profit association to generate a positive influence on the lives of the kids and on the development of the immigrant community with particular attention to social inclusion." said TamTam Basketball President Massimo Antonelli. "We want to offer young kids in need the opportunity to be involved in recreational sports for free. We also want to offer the kids free group and individual therapy."
TamTam Basketball provides an outlet for the youngsters of the region. Basketball gives them hope and something to look forward to in their daily lives.
These youths, who are mostly children of refugees had to fight to be able to play in the Italian league as they often do not have citizenship status. Their persistence was rewarded as the law was changed and they are now competing their first season in the Italian league.
After hearing about their story and how they use Basketball for Good, which is the Foudation's mission, the IBF decided to reward their determination by inviting them to their yearly 3x3 basketball tournament, the FIBA Open.
A team of three girls and a team of three boys, accompanied by Massimo Antonelli and Antonella Ceccato (Vice-President) traveled to the event. "It was the first time they left Castel Volturno" explained Massimo Antonelli, "everything is new: taking the plane, living in a youth hostel. For them, it's a dream".
The two teams played on both days and greatly enjoyed the experience. "I like basketball because it is spectacular. Without basketball, I wouldn't be able to live" said Ezekiele, grateful for any opportunity to play. "The FIBA Open is an opportunity to make friends".
"Basketball is my entire life" said Precious. "It allows me to express myself". "It's pure pleasure to play with the TamTam team, the importance is not to win but to practice and have fun".