The community has joined members of the Budokan Judo Club in Castle Hill to rally in support of the Moghadamshaidie family since they first told their story of fleeing Iran for the relative safety of Australia.
Teenage boys Shaheen and Hussain Moghadamshaidie should soon represent NSW at the National Titles but that opportunity to fulfil their potential would not be available if not for the near $1000 raised by supporters.
Settlement Services International (SSI) CEO Violet Roumeliotis said the family was in Australia awaiting assessment for refugee status. That means parents Ali and Maliheh are unable to work, but have access to support through SSI’s asylum seeker assistance program.
“The family’s little funds are exhausted on rent, food and bills so the cost of travel and competition fees for judo is unmanageable,” Ms Roumeliotis said, “but after the community was made aware of the family’s circumstances, supporters raised money on their behalf. This was a generous show of support that the family is very thankful for, as it will help the boys reach their goals and potential.”
One of those supporters was Romy, who did not provide a surname. Romy is a humanitarian aid worker with asylum seekers and refugees. “When I saw the story about Shaheen and Hussain I forwarded it on to friends and colleagues and they were all really excited to be able to help out,” she said. “I hope the money will get the boys to the national titles or as far as they can go towards achieving their goals.”
Romy and nine of her friends raised $650 for the boys’ travel, accommodation and registration costs.
Head coach of the Budokan club Rob Katz said one other sponsor had contributed $250 to support Shaheen and Hussain and added that the club’s members had agreed to waive the boys’ membership fees.
“There was general surprise regarding the plight of the family and a great willingness to support and assist them as far as the club could afford to give them opportunities that otherwise would not be available to them,” Mr Katz said of people’s reaction to the family’s story.”
The Moghadamshaidie family, who live in North Parramatta, are enthusiastic club members, Mr Katz said, helping out at social and fund-raising events, such as a recent barbecue. The boys were training hard five days a week with the club and NSW team for the National Judo Titles in Wollongong, June 6 to 9, he said.
Ali Moghadamshaidie said his family was very grateful for the support. “Yes, very happy, very surprised,” he said, “because some people give their money to help our boys.”
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