We are very pleased to announce that The Kick Project has received a $AUD16,500 donation from the Australian Government to fund a pilot soccer program with Rohingya refugees in Malaysia.
The funds, coming through the Australian High Commission in Malaysia, will allow the charity to support the Rohingya Football Club which has become a vital part of the exiled Rohingya community in Kuala Lumpur.
The program entails kitting out the team, providing transport to games and establishing a sports and community hub where Rohingya people can access sporting equipment and coaching.
Young people, and girls in particular, are the long term focus of the initiative.
The Kick Project founder James Rose says the Rohingya are in dire need of assistance.
"The UN has called the Rohingya arguably the most persecuted group in the world.
They've been forced to flee their homelands in Myanmar, where they have been made stateless by government decree, and many have lost their lives as a result."
As refugees, the Rohingya are targets of extortion and kidnapping is commonplace with and women and children among the targets.
The Rohingya Football Club gives the community something to be proud of, as well as a focal point. RFC games present one of the few regular opportunities for the community to gather safely and have some fun.
Playing friendlies against other communities also helps the Rohingya assimilate and build inter-communitty networks.
RFC co-founder Muhammad Noor says the funding will make a huge difference for Rohingya in KL.
"Our people face many difficulties.
The RFC program allows us to relax, to get together and helps strengthen our community."
James says he is very grateful to the High Commission in KL for their support.
"To get the backing of the Federal Government is so encouraging and we are so excited for the Rohingya that they can benefit from this generosity."
The Kick Project is planning similar soccer-based models in areas of disadvantage and need around the world.