New Matilda never runs press releases… well, almost never. Here’s one that we think is worth a bit of space, from the Afghan Victory Football Club based in Melbourne.
Afghan Victory football club, a soccer team for young refugees, needs financial help to survive. It needs to raise $20,000 – enough to fund the club for a year. It’s also looking for corporate sponsorship for the future, as a more permanent solution.
The Afghan Victory Football Club was created to help Afghani refugee youths in the Dandenong area. This small, community soccer club has positively transformed the lives of over 50 young people. For many, it has become their family.
Young refuges are often placed together to live in community houses; many are students who have lost their parents to conflict, and have few role models to see them through their formative years. Many can grow up isolated and fearful of their future.
The club gives these young people a purpose and helps them to develop confidence, focus, friendship, teamwork and a will to win.
Zakarya Shojaie, himself a refugee is the founder of the club. For nearly 4 years, he has invested over a third of his own earnings from his manufacturing job to finance the teams.
Zakarya says: “I used to see these kids wandering around Dandenong Plaza and the train station with nothing to do. I thought, no – that’s not good, that’s not fair … to spend their life like this… I feared they may get into drugs and alcohol. So I decided to start the soccer team to get them away from all those things, and to make their future bright… In our first week, we had 25 kids sign up!”
Zakarya has recently been retrenched from his job and can no longer manage to fund the team.
Afghan Victory Football club supports and trains 3 teams; the Men’s Under 17s, Women’s Under 19s and Men’s Under 25s. Both men’s and women’s teams have produced a number of rising stars who have caught the attention of professional state clubs.
The teams practice two days a week, and play other registered clubs on weekends around Melbourne. They have won several trophies and interstate matches, and the women’s team is the current league champion.
The money raised will go towards supplying nearly 50 members of the club with team jerseys, soccer balls, water and refreshments, venue hire, registration fees, travel and reimbursements for the team’s volunteers for a year.
Exceeding their target would help the team buy an association with a more high-profile club, granting players a pathway to progress further in soccer.
You can access the Afghan Victory’s Crowdfunding page here. And if you want contact details for the club (hint hint to corporates out there), then email New Matilda here and we’ll pass on contact details for you.