During the evacuation process from Afghanistan, Australia evacuated 4,200 people. Approximately 650 families of the new refugees from Afghanistan have resettled across NSW. About 70 families from the evacuation were housed in Bella Vista Quest Hotel for over two months.
Due to the lack of transportation available in the area and their unfamiliarity in Sydney, they felt isolated in the hotel rooms and were not able to roam around freely.
On 11 November 2021, the Massoud Foundation Australia, in partnership with NSW Government, Blacktown City Council, MatchWorks , genU Training, and Valerio Daniel De Simoni Association arranged a friendly soccer match at Francesco Crescent Reserve, Bella Vista between Sydney Afghan Refugees and Ariana FC to welcome and support the new refugees from Afghanistan into our communities.
The newly arrived Afghan refugees have been through trauma and PTSD in Afghanistan including some who left families behind. Their feeling of isolation is immense so we wanted to create a welcoming environment where people could meet others within the community to reduce the sense of isolation and to provide hope and opportunity to these families.
This event was commended by the Hon. Alex Hawke MP and applauded by many organisations present at the event from different communities, service providers, and employers. They all came together to welcome the newly arrived refugee players, their families and share a meal with them. Please listen more on ABC World Today.
The final score was 5 - 1 in favour of Ariana FC. However, the Ariana FC coach Mr Jawad Sultani handed the trophy to the Refugee team and stated, "We may have won the match, but you have won your freedom".
Thank you to the partners and volunteers who made this event successful and joyful.
Photo Credit: Nelly Nawabi