Changemakers and Cricket Wellington

Cricket Wellington Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Christian Thurston (left) and Changemakers Youth Advocate and Community Connecter, Kodrean Eashae

Cricket Wellington is committed to creating outstanding experiences for the people of Wellington and supports New Zealand Cricket’s vision to make cricket ‘A Game For All, A Game For Life’.

During the 2020-21 summer, Cricket Wellington piloted an initiative alongside the Changemakers Resettlement Forum, a non-governmental organisation representing over 17 refuge background communities in the greater Wellington region.

The pilot, which centered around giving children from refugee families the opportunity to play cricket, was a resounding success with six children from various backgrounds and cultures developing a love for cricket and registering with their local cricket club

Last summer, we built on the success of the previous season, with another 11 children picking up a bat and ball and registering with their local club.

Changemakers Youth Advocate and Community Connecter, Kodrean Eashae has been a vital part of the pilot, advocating for the issues and gaps of refugee youths, connecting children to the programme, helping them overcome barriers such as language.

A former Iraq refugee himself, Kodrean said the pilot is all about helping integrate refugee youths into society through sport and activity that they can enjoy.

“We create these events and programmes to make sure that our youth are engaged and participate in society, and it also builds their confidence within a new city.

“I see myself as an advocate for those refugees who face barriers that don’t make sense, for example, language or the background that someone comes from,” he said.

“It’s all about helping open doors for people and giving them an opportunity to show their talent and help them grow.”

Kodrean also highlighted the important role sport plays to break down the language barrier, to help refugees become immersed in society.

“People say that language is a barrier, but realistically language isn’t a barrier, it is just the words we use for communication,” he said.

“There are hundreds of ways that we can communicate – cricket, you don’t need a language, you can be a good team player without language.

“So that’s why we work with youth specifically to advocate for those who may have been turned away from previous opportunities or things that they have tried to do in the community due to language or background barriers.”

Cricket Wellington diversity lead, Christian Thurston, thanked Kodrean for all his efforts and underlined the vital role he plays as a communicator for refugees who want to play cricket in Wellington.

“Kodrean’s efforts and the work that the team at Changemakers do, have been instrumental in helping refugee children overcome barriers they have faced in society to become involved in cricket,” said Thurston.

“There have been many occasions where Kodrean’s support over phone calls, to assist with language translation has been vital, when otherwise we may not have been able to get a future player over the line to get involved.

“Cricket Wellington is committed to the Changemakers pilot, and we look forward to welcoming new players of all nationalities and backgrounds into our game in the future.”

Youths from countries such as Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria have now joined cricket clubs in Wellington thanks to Kodrean and the Changemakers Forum.

Kodrean said the families and communities who have been supported by the pilot are very grateful.

“Opening up these types of opportunities for these communities is very important because often these youths have dreamed of these opportunities, opportunities they may have only seen on the television, and together with Cricket Wellington we are making those dreams a reality.”

If you or your club would like to support the Changemakers initiative, please contact Christian Thurston

Article added: Monday 20 June 2022