A piece of home (“Ein Stück Heimat”) - Cricket in Bielefeld

According to estimates of refugee organizations there are six to ten million children worldwide who flee alone. Only a few of them reach Germany and enter it as so-called „Unaccompanied Minor Refugees“(Unbegleitete Minderjährige Flüchtlinge, in short: UMF). It is estimated that about five to ten thousand unaccompanied minor refugees currently live in Germany. Last year over 4.300 of them were taken into the care of youth services, including 62 in Bielefeld.

These young people flee from civil war, violence, threat of war service or political persecution, or because of the lack of prospects and total destruction of their livelihoods. Many of the young refugees are traumatized by their experiences in their home country and on the run. They have experienced murder, forced recruitment, rape, torture, organized violence and armed conflicts.

Young refugees experience a challenging process upon their arrival in Germany. Their integration within the society is often hindered by numerous obstacles. They partly live in homes for unaccompanied minors (called "clearing houses") or in shared flats and have only little to no contacts with their home countries. Many of them are only a few months in Germany and they are homesick. Cricket gives them a piece of "home" and is an opportunity for the newcomers to integrate into a group.

At the end of the year 2012, students of the Carl-Severing-School in Bielefeld decided to start their own cricket team and asked their German teacher to help them. The students are young refugees from Bangladesh, where cricket is the national sport. Shortly after founding the team more interested young people from many different nations (Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) joined it. The youngest player is 14 years old, the oldest 19.

At the first training, which was organized in December 2012, 18 players took part with great enthusiasm. Three months later the director of the German Cricket Federation Brian Mantle came with two players of the German National Under 19- Team to watch the training, so that the young people's motivation was incredibly high and they have trained for over five hours. Now the Bielefeld cricket team includes 30 players and was admitted to the sports club TUS OST Bielefeld. In August, the team has already participated in two games of the North Rhine-Westphalia-League.

Also sponsors for the equipment and the jerseys could be found - the Workers' Welfare Association (Arbeiterwohlfahrt, in short: AWO) and the integration office of the City of Bielefeld are supporters of the new cricket team.

Concept of the documentary

Five members of the team act as the main characters. They talk about their everyday life in Germany, their worries, fears and problems, but also about the importance that Cricket has for their life, what it means to them far away from their home and how it makes them feel.

The other team members also get the chance to speak and answer questions about the role cricket plays in their life and how it feels to play cricket away from their home countries.

Two other important actors in this film are the director of the German Cricket Federation Brian Mantle and the head of the AWO clearinghouse Siavash Miandashti. They talk about the importance of cricket in Germany for those who have immigrated, for example from Afghanistan, Pakistan or Bangladesh and the integrative aspect of this sport. They explain how cricket connects people and that it is possible for people of different cultures and religions playing together in a team and achieve success. Furthermore, the life of young refugees and their prospects in Germany are told.

Not only the trainings and games of the team are shown in this documentary, also the haunts of the young people and the clearing house in Bielefeld are relevant locations for the film’s concept.