As Australians, often it’s easy to forget how lucky we are to have netball ingrained in our lifestyle and communities from the moment we’re old enough for organised sport.
It’s hard to imagine a place where only one per cent of women play netball regularly, there is no netball equipment or playing space, less than a quarter of women know netball’s rules and women take part in an average of just 16 minutes of physical activity each week.
But in the remote villages of Tonga, that’s the reality of life for most women, who have little or no support in participating in sport, more than three quarters of women are in poor physical health, and a large number also have poor mental health.
But what if we could do something about it?
Netball Australia, through the Federal Government’s Pacific Sports Partnerships funding, partnered with the Tonga Netball Association as well as The University of Sydney in a study that helped to identify and break down the barriers to women in Tonga learning and participating in netball.
The 12-month project developed ways for those villages to make netball a part of their everyday lives, and delivered some amazing results, both from a social and physical perspective.
It’s a wonderful story about some very special women, so please enjoy a little snapshot of the journey in the video below.