Giosef Italy in Palermo is involved in the Ballarò Vipers project. Volunteers from the European Solidarity Corps projects of the Giosef @ Palermo project actively support the mini-basketball activities promoted by the Vipers in Ballarò, in the historic center of Palermo.
In the heart of the historic Sicilian district of Ballarò, a group of basketball enthusiasts has given life to the Ballarò Vipers. Under the motto “Quattro scappati di casa” (Four runaways from home), this team, composed of individuals over 25 years old, seeks to revive the basketball culture in a region where football often captures the attention of many. The project, active since 2017, goes beyond the basketball court, aspiring to build a legacy for the future generations of the neighborhood. The target audience for these activities is indeed the children of the Giovanni Verga State Middle School.
The goal is clear: to play basketball in Ballarò, in an area that most of them consider home. The initiative promotes not only the sport but also aims to create a positive social impact, challenging inequalities and racism.
The Ballarò Vipers, inspired by the historic symbol of Albergheria, a green snake on a golden background, have embraced the unique atmosphere of the neighborhood. The team’s social colors, linked to ancient heraldry, seek to reclaim a tradition lost over time. The team does not settle for just playing basketball; their approach includes the revitalization of forgotten sports spaces and active participation in community events.
After several weeks of collaboration and participation in sessions led by Fabrizio, who, outside of working hours, serves as the coach of the Ballarò Vipers project at the Giovanni Verga State Middle School at the end of classes, we can define this initiative through the following metaphor:
Basketball, as a means of social inclusion and values education, is like a symphony where each participant is a unique note, but together they create a harmonious melody.
In this “field” of life, the diversity of skills and talents of the members blends to form a cohesive team. The rules of the game are like ethical principles that guide behavior on the court, teaching participants mutual respect, cooperation, and discipline. The basket represents the shared goal, and each scored basket symbolizes individual and collective success.
Just as in basketball, where each player contributes from their position, in society, every person, thanks to their unique perspective, contributes to building a rich, free, and inclusive environment.
Through basketball, the Vipers learn that success is not only measured in points but also in how challenges are faced, overcoming obstacles, and celebrating every small progress.
In conclusion, in the Ballarò Vipers, learning goes beyond technical skills; it extends to empathy, solidarity, and understanding. Basketball thus becomes a school of life, where players are shaped not only as athletes but also as engaged and respectful citizens, both of themselves and the team to which they belong.
Borja Cortés Martínez
ESC Volunteers of the Giosef @ Palermo Project | Creating a Cross-Cultural Impact