A young Refugee Council volunteer and former client was last night presented with an award for his contributions to the community by sporting legends Muhammad Ali and David Beckham. At the Beyond Sport Summit in London, Afghan refugee Matiullah received the ‘Generation Ali Beyond Sport Award’ for service, leadership and action in the community.
19 year-old Matiullah volunteers as a coach and interpreter for the Refugee Cricket Project, a project set up by Cricket for Change and the Refugee Council, to enable young refugees who have come to the UK on their own to play cricket. 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.
Matiuallah was delighted to meet David Beckham and Muhammed Ali at the awards ceremeony. He said: “I am delighted to have won the award and it was one of the most fantastic nights of my life.”
In relation to his work for the Refugee Cricket Project he explained: “I want to thank the Refugee Council and Cricket for Change for helping me. In Afghanistan I wasn’t helped, but here I have been given a lot of help and I want to take the opportunity to give back.”
Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said: “It is fantastic to see one of our young clients being awarded for his outstanding contribution to the community. We are thrilled for Matiullah who thoroughly deserved to be recognised for his efforts to help other refugees play cricket and settle in here. His experience reflects that of many refugees who come to the UK and often want to give back by sharing the skills and talents they have.”
The story was covered widely in the press:
Daily Mail: Beckham reveals opening ceremony role after London meeting with Ali
Daily Mirror: Muhammad Ali meets David Beckham as A-listers flock to London
Daily Telegraph: Muhammad Ali’s electrifying aura whips up Olympic frenzy at awards ceremony