Tools for Migrant Integration: Fostering a Sense of Community through Sports

Aleidys arrived in the Dominican Republic in 2017. Back home in Barquisimeto, a city 350 kilometers southwest of Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, she worked as a physical education teacher.

When she arrived in the Dominican Republic, things weren’t necessarily easy at first. While settling in, she started her own micro-business selling cheese. However, after a while, her passion for sports kicked in. Now, besides her day job, she teaches kickball lessons on weekends. Her students are both Venezuelan and Dominican women and girls. 

“I was an athlete during my time at university,” Aleidys says. “I kept practicing kickball and after that, I became a coach. I’m also a referee in the discipline.”

Aleidys has almost 60 students. For her, these classes allow for a cultural exchange between Venezuelan and Dominican women, which not only facilitates integration, but also fosters a sense of community. 

Dominican women are warriors, just like Venezuelan women. They are daring, they are active and capable on the playing field.

After almost five years in the country, Aleidys benefitted from the regularization program offered by the Dominican government, in coordination with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). She now has a regular status in the country, which makes following her dreams much easier.