PORT ADELAIDE will be able to expand its industry-leading Power Intercultural Program in 2020 thanks to a $569,100 injection by the Commonwealth Government.

Established in 2017, the Power Intercultural Program is designed to celebrate vibrancy of cultural diversity and expression, promote inclusion and build social cohesion by recognising the positive contribution of different cultures within Australia.

The program is delivered to both male and female secondary school students in years 10 and 11 from schools across South Australia with large multicultural populations.

Sessions are delivered by current and past Port Adelaide Football Club players as well as female role models and are conducted over the first semester of school term. Students are also eligible to complete 10 SACE credits for Integrated Learning upon completion of the program.

In 2019, the program reached more than 300 students representing more than 100 nationalities at eleven schools but another eleven schools have also registered their interest in participating.

The Government investment will allow the program to expand to include more participants and a leadership day where participants can integrate with other school participants and undertake an Aboriginal cultural awareness program.

In addition, the funding will enable the Centre for Islamic Thought and Education at the University of South Australia to conduct a research project into the merits or otherwise of the program.

“As a community organisation, we recognise that we can play an important role in supporting new migrants and existing diverse communities by encouraging social cohesion between cultural groups. We are also driven to celebrate the beautiful strengths of each culture and how they play an important part in an Intercultural community,” said Ross Wait, the General Manager of Port Adelaide’s not-for-profit community arm Power Community Ltd.

“We believe that sport does not discriminate against race, culture, sex or religion and the Power Intercultural Program provides an opportunity to bring people of different cultures and faiths together using sport as the medium to break down those barriers.

“We have seen the program grow from including students from seven schools in 2017 to being a sought-after experience for students at more than 20 schools in 2019.

“The Government’s support shores up the short-term future of the program and will mean we can continue to celebrate Australia’s diversity and educate young women and men about the contribution that people of all nationalities have made to our society.”

The funding was announced during a visit to Port Adelaide’s Alberton headquarters on Thursday by the Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston.

During the visit, Minister Ruston witnessed a cultural exchange between program participants and members of Port Adelaide’s Women’s Aboriginal AFL Academy, heard one of the participants describe the impact the program has had on her, and was given a guernsey designed by another participant.

“The program will promote inclusion and develop social cohesion by recognising the positive contribution of diverse backgrounds in our community,” Minister Ruston said.

“It will link education with sport to encourage teenagers to start a conversation about how we can be respectful of all cultures and celebrate our differences.

“What better way to find common ground than through our love of sport.”

Power Community Ltd Chair Mary Patetsos said the Government funding would help support activities that bring communities together.

“This grant will enable us to build on activities that are focussed on young people in building stronger, connected communities engaged with education and employment,” she said.  

The Power Intercultural Program sees students explore their individual culture, Aboriginal culture and other cultures within their school communities, develop an understanding of cultural differences and an understanding and skills of the game of Australian Rules Football.

As an extension to the program, schools are invited to attend the annual carnival day where students represent their school in a nine-a-side football competition and participate in additional activities which include an interactive careers exhibition, a cultural dance station and AFL physical testing.

Students and families are also invited to attend a Port Adelaide Football Club game at Adelaide Oval with the opportunity to participate in the AFL curtain raiser and pre-game cultural performance which celebrates cultural diversity and social cohesion.