20 year-old Matiullah Haider, who came to the UK from Afghanistan as a child refugee and has been supported to rebuild his life here by the Refugee Council’s Children’s Section, was awarded the Achievement in Sport award for his tireless voluntary work helping other young refugees to play cricket. He is now based in Croydon and regularly volunteers as a coach and interpreter for the Refugee Cricket Project in the area, a project set up by the Refugee Council and Cricket for Change, to enable young refugees who have come to the UK on their own to play cricket and settle into their community. He also spends his time volunteering for the Refugee Council Children’s Section, which helped him when he first arrived in the UK four years ago as a separated child.
Matiullah received his award at the Spirit of London Awards Ceremony at the 02 Arena on Monday (10 December).
“ It’s an honour to be among these great people. Five years ago I was had just left Afghanistan I didn’t know where I was going or whether I would survive the journey. I want to thank the Refugee Council and Cricket for Change for all their support. It’s good to be able to give something back to other people who are struggling.”
Shān Nicholas, Interim Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“We are absolutely thrilled for Matiullah and extremely proud that he has been recognised for the excellent work he does to help other young refugees in London. Despite going through many difficulties himself in recent years, it is inspiring that he now gives his time to help others in the community. This is true of many refugees who come to the UK and often want to give back by sharing the skills, talents and passions that they have.”
The Refugee Council’s Children’s Section turns 18 this year. The charity supports over 1000 refugee children to rebuild their lives each year by offering practical and emotional support to children who have fled conflict and come to the UK on their own.