Hadi Najafi is of Hazara (Afghan) background and was born in Pakistan. (There are around 650, 000 Hazara Afghanis living in Pakistan). Hadi lives in Australia independently and this had caused him to becxome socially isolated. But his decision to turn back to the sport he enjoyed playing in Pakistan has increased his community ties in his new country.
When Hadi arrived as a refugee to Australia in 2012, at the age of 17, he had no family. In May 2013, he received assistance from Southern Ethnic Advisory and Advocacy Council (SEAAC) with housing and education to help with adjusting to life in Australia and living by himself. To promote his own inclusion in Australia played he made his own enquiries into playing volleyball, a sport he had played for a few years in Pakistan.
After playing for a short time in a South Eastern league he left after encountering racism. He was relocated to an Under 19 Volleyball Academy in Stud Road where Sports Without Borders supported him with a grant for game fees.
“The season has just finished and I enjoyed it a lot. I learned a lot and improved my skills and understanding of the rules. The coach was great and I made lots of new friends,” Hadi said.
Hadi has embraced Australian culture through sport. He has praised SEAAC’s role in approaching Sports Without Borders that has allowed him the pathway to play sport in Australia.
After playing a season he is more upbeat about his new life in Australia. He holds future aspirations to join the Royal Australian Air Force and hopes to learning about different cultures and travel the world after completing high school. Canada will be his first stop, as he has relatives settled there. But for now Hadi will be focusing on his Year 12 in 2014. Good luck for the future Hadi!