The Flying Mountain Project used kite-making workshops as a way to break down social isolation and provide a recreational outlet.
The Flying Mountain Project, an initiative of the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY), used kite making and kite flying as a social and recreational activity to engage newly arrived young men from refugee backgrounds in Melbourne’s Southeast and to help build social connections.
Kite fighting and flying is of great cultural importance to many Afghan young men and the participants were pleased to have had the opportunity to make the kites here in Australia. They were grateful that appropriate materials were sourced. So far the group has made over 60 kites and many have had the opportunity to fly them.
The program was successful in engaging these young men. It did not have any cost for participants and was a culturally appropriate activity which built on their past knowledge and experience. It allowed them to share stories of their pre flight life in their home country.
The program was successful in creating connections between the young men and introducing them to other social and recreational opportunities, which were promoted to the young men during the project. The initial Noble Park venue was chosen for its proximity to the English language school that some young Afghan men attend as well as the opportunity to link the participants into a basketball program that runs there on the same night.
The project enabled these young men to be linked in to other services relevant to their needs. Six of the young men joined in with the basketball program after finishing their kites. When the program moved to headspace, some of the young men were linked to headspace staff.
Attendance was solid, and the cross group sharing between Afghan and Islander young people worked well, with the young Islander boys showing great interest in the project and the Afghan boys were very happy to share their expertise and knowledge in this area.