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Feb 23, 2022   |  4:07PM AET

South Asian migrants finding a home in football

South Asian migrants finding a home in football

Ajit Singh has been involved with Melbourne Victory as a community ambassador since the 2015 Asian Cup.

Through a challenging period across Melbourne’s multicultural community in recent years, Singh’s work with migrants has helped paved the way for countless individuals to settle into their new lives.

Coming from a North Indian farming background himself, Singh uses his role as a social worker and founder of the Oorja Foundation to assist victims of family violence, particularly South Asian migrants fresh to Melbourne.

Melbourne Victory football has been a useful tool for the proud community ambassador to get migrants fully immersed in their new community.

“The whole idea is to provide communities who lack access to things Victory has to offer and also to bridge the gap from different communities to sport,” Singh said.

“Knowing there’s a big football club in Melbourne where kids can follow and also develop a wider community relationship is excellent.

“We give tickets to young, disadvantaged families and their children to come watch them play. I’ve been able to bring a number of young people from refugee communities to games to settle them into their new lives, it’s been really nice.

“They come from countries where football is a big game; especially Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Nepal, India and African nations. They were really keen and happy to attend games here.”

Singh says second and third generation South Asian migrants are now firmly established in the Victory football family from members to fans to academy system prospects.

His family violence work, especially through the Oorja Foundation, is what draws Singh to making a real difference in the community and seeing football as a platform for change.

“Family violence is quite a big issue in the multicultural community at the moment so I’m doing a lot of work in bringing people together to find a solution,” he said.

“The reason for the organisation is to allow South Asian migrants to have an access point and discussions with people who are there to help them. It provides a platform where they can discuss their family issues or cultural issues they’re going through as a newly settled family.

“We bring them together and help them celebrate their identity in Melbourne and help them settle in to the broader Melbourne community.”

Singh is one of many community ambassadors who are connected with Melbourne Victory and work tirelessly behind the scenes to brighten the lives of Melburnians with a little help from the power of football.

The above ambassador profile is brought to you by WorkSafe.

Whether you are a worker or an employer, we all have the right to feel healthy and safe at home and in the workplace and it’s a fact that workers born overseas are at higher risk of workplace injury.

WorkSafe wants to keep you safe, so you can continue to enjoy the things you love…..like watching the Victory.

To support keeping you safe, WorkSafe provides FREE online resources in twenty (20) languages to help you understand your rights and responsibilities as an employee.

For more information go to www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/languages