5 ways you can engage with refugees and make them feel welcome

Most of us agree that our cultural diversity makes Australia a better place to live and that we want to learn about our multicultural communities.

Australian football has been enriched by the experiences of refugees and our game has taken on a unique culture due to the influences from every continent on earth.  

Did you know?

  • Australian football has players born in over 190 different countries
  • More than half of us were born overseas, or one of our parents was.
  • One in five of us speak a language other than English at home.
  • We practise over 120 different religions.

So to help make our communities stronger and more connected, here are five easy things you can do to make a difference in your local community – we're sure you can think of others, too!


Tip 1: Get informed

Help dispel myths and misunderstandings about asylum seekers and refugees - take a look at these 13 facts about refugees and asylum seekers.

There are also plenty of ways you can learn more. The following organisations have some great resources:

Tip 2: Invite a guest speaker

Suggest that your football club, school or community group learns more by inviting a refugee or migrant to share their story. Hearing first hand about migration experiences can help break down barriers and build understanding.

Football United and your Member Federations can help connect you with speakers and resources to give insight into their lived experiences.  Many of the speakers are already involved in football like North Shore Mariner's U14 boys coach Musie Elongo. 

Tip 3: Club / Workplace mentoring

Consider whether your club or workplace could offer mentoring or volunteer opportunities to people from refugee or migrant backgrounds who need support entering the workforce. Skills learned from volunteering at football clubs have often been transferrable in the work place and can make a real difference to someone's future.

Tip 4: Invest in a young person's future

Encourage your club, school or university to help someone from a refugee or migrant background who wants to continue learning but has limited financial support. This could cover tuition, football fees, uniforms, or books.

Australian football - refugee week
(Photo Credit: Ann Odong / FFA)

Tip 5: Share your skills  

The Football United, Member Federations and Red Cross is just one of many organisations in the community working to support asylum seekers, refugees, and vulnerable migrants. If you want to make a positive difference, get in touch with them to find out how you can share your skills.

Republished with permission from Australian Red Cross.