A broadcast from Radio VOA Somali in Washington, DC highlights the achievements of Fartun Osman, a female athlete from Somalia who immigrated to the US and is now helping Muslim girls overcome cultural barriers and taboos to play sports. Athletics and sports are a great way to encourage newcomer integration and level the playing field for everyone. Beyond the individual health and social benefits of being part of a team, such activities boost inclusion, confidence and participation in society. Fartun Osman is making a valuable contribution to equal opportunity with her efforts in counteracting the under-representation of newcomers in sports and recreation activities.
Somali-American girls gaining sports popularity by breaking some cultural taboos
Translated Summary: "Fartun Osman was a national team player and track and field runner back in Somalia. She came to the US in 1996. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Now Fartun is coaching boys’ and girls’ soccer, basketball and track and field teams in Minnesota after she got licensed to coach these different sports. Since Fartun’s arrival, she has been working hard to take advantage of the athletic and sports opportunities in the US. She said: “I know it’s not difficult to integrate sports into your life, but when everything is new to you, it takes a while to understand all the resources available to you. It also takes a lot of time and effort to penetrate religious observations and cultural taboos of the society. It is also tough to deal with stereotyping issues. For example, some people believe that Muslim women can’t be good at sports, because they aren’t allowed to expose most of their bodies while in public, but fortunately, I was lucky to overcome many cultural barriers and restrictions to form soccer, basketball and track and field teams for Muslim girls in Minnesota.” In order to achieve her goals, Fartun has taken many courses on coaching soccer, basketball and track and field. She’s also learned how to cater specifically to the needs of Muslim girls, especially in the Somali community. At the moment, her teams have gained a lot of popularity after they won several state championships. She is proud of her team’s achievements, especially because they are the first Muslim team to win in the state of Minnesota." (26/08/2018)
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