Big bucks to boost Black Rhinos charge

Jamy Alex addresses the crowd with Selba Luka, his son Elijah and Greater Dandenong Mayor Jim Memeti looking on.

By Casey Neill

Dandenong’s Black Rhinos will receive a $220,000 boost over the next four years.
The basketball team is helping at-risk migrant youths to avoid crime and address mental health issues.
On Wednesday 12 July, acting Multicultural Affairs Minister James Merlino announced that the basketball side was among 12 Victorian sporting bodies to share $4 million in grants to develop community projects and get more Victorians on playing fields.
Basketball Victoria will work closely and in partnership with Afri-Aus Care on the Black Rhinos project.
Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams said the funding would “help provide a positive environment to engage young people in sport, and forge constructive life pathways”.
The Black Rhino players received their jerseys at Dandenong Basketball Stadium on 16 May.
At the launch, Ms Williams said she played sport growing up.
“It taught me a lot about life,” she said.
“It’s not just participation and fun and relationships, but it’s also discipline, it’s learning not to let your team-mates down.
“I can see why it’s a great vehicle through which to engage young people.
“A team, a club is also a place for people to feel welcome, to be themselves, to meet new people, to find new pathways.”
Malawi-born Selba Luka told guests at the team launch event that she struggled to settle into life in a new country.
Her marriage broke up and her teenage daughter went off the rails.
The mental health clinician started Afri-Aus Care to help others, and through her work met Jamy Alex.
She helped him through his problems with drinking, drugs and court and embraced his idea of starting a basketball club.
The Black Rhinos were born.
“These young people, they just need love,” she said.
“Give them hope. Things will change.”
Basketball Victoria’s Karen Pearce said the Black Rhinos was increasing social connectivity and physical health, and decreasing anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.
“We will use our sport as a distraction technique to gently steer participants into an environment that is safe, inclusive and supportive,” she said.