Harmony Week is upon as and 96five is celebrating our cultural diversity and Australian multiculturalism.
We have also partnered with Multicultural Australia to help young athletes get onto the field and participating in sports with their Connecting Through Sport program. You can make a donation of equipment to 96five’s Sporting Goods Drive, or donate directly to Multicultural Australia’s sports fund.
As part of this focus on sport and diversity, 96five spoke to Zimra Hussein and her mother Sakina. They came to Australia as refugees, fleeing Taliban persecution of the Hazara people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Since arriving in Queensland they have found a genuine welcome, and widespread support through their involvement with AFL football clubs.
Zimra is a hugely talented footballer and is being touted as a future star of the AFLW. She is now playing mid field for the Wilston Grange Australian Football Club, and was dubbed the Afghani Axe when she first took up the sport. Her mum Sakina said that initially she was worried about her daughter competing with boys, but those fears were quickly quelled.
“It was a big deal for me to let my daughter play with boys, it’s a rough game and I thought she would be hurt. When she started tackling those big boys, and their parents would ask Zimi not to tackle their boys so hard I knew she could do it.”
Listen to Sakina and Zimra’s story in the audio player below.
Christine Castley is the CEO of Multicultural Australia and told 96five that involvement in a local sporting club provides new migrants and refugees the perfect way to connect with their new community.
“It’s targeting refugees, migrants, international students and women and the way it works is that we provide a four week training program in the sport that they might be interested in. We have currently signed up 27 sporting clubs who want to build their cultural capabilities so they can provide the most welcoming environment possible for new families. The program is available to all ages – it’s not just for kids.”
Multicultural Australia’s Connecting Through Sport program currently offers opportunities in AFL, Netball, Football (Soccer) and Tennis, with more sports in the pipeline.
Listen to Christine outlining what Multicultural Australia does to assist new arrivals in settling in to their new home, and how sport can unite the community in the audio player below.
Abdullah Haddad is the AFL Queensland Diversity Coordinator; he spoke to 96five about how his sport of AFL can help support newly settled families get connected in their community.