Warm welcome at Catland

Massooma Faqiri, Faizi Faqiri and Ehsan Faqiri with Geelong Cats young gun Nakia Cockatoo.

By Mandy Oakham

Refugee children have been cat-apulted into the delights of life Down Under thanks to a helping hand from the Geelong Football Club and local support groups.

Locals working through the Bellarine for Refugees group based out of Barwon Heads have organised another successful Welcome Day for refugee families down at the Cattery.

New arrivals were presented with the holy trinity of Australiana , that is, meat pies, football and vegemite sandwiches.

Around 120 refugees from the Afghan, Syrian, Iraqi, Karen and Karenni communities gathered down at Kardinia Park where they were encouraged to get involved in their local communities through participation in the great game.

President of Bellarine for Refugees, Margaret Griffith, said that the group had been delighted to help local refugee families learn more about ways of settling into their new lives.

“There are so many ways we can all welcome refugees into our communities but this day is a very special, fun-filled way of doing that,” she said.

Bellarine for Refugees raised money to ensure kids left the day carrying their very own Sherrin as a memento of their time out on the hallowed turf trying to land the “pill” between those white sticks.

On the menu to ensure that everyone kept their strength while singing along with the greatest team of all were lamingtons, vegemite sandwiches, sausages and meat pies.

CEO of Geelong football club, Brian Cook said, his club was very happy to be part of a day which encouraged a greater connection between new arrivals and our culture.

“There’s nothing more aligned with Australian culture than Aussie Rules football.”