Tresor Ruzangiza has always loved sports, so it was no surprise it was one of the first things he pursued when he arrived in Australia six years ago.
Originally hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tresor graduated high school just three years after arriving to Australia, and despite the challenge of adapting to a new country and language he quickly found his place in Access Community Services’ Multicultural Sports Club (MSC).
“I was playing soccer every Wednesday night with my friends and also participating is MSC’s Multicultural Football League,” he said.
“I was studying landscaping through my workplace, when one day Janelle [Kirby, MSC’s Sports and Development Coordinator] came in and found out about my love of soccer via my supervisor.”
“She then asked me if I wanted to coach soccer at the MSC, which I accepted!”
Tresor quickly completed his training course, which was free through MSC, and volunteered at the club for two hours a week for two months. At the end of the two months, he was offered a coaching job.
“This was great news for me because I love sport, but I was nervous too,” he said.
“I used to be quite shy in public and didn’t have the courage to be able to speak in front of people – but MSC has changed all of this.
“From the very first day, everyone was so welcoming, asking questions like ‘How are going? How is your family? Can we help you with anything?’ and they would always encourage me to have fun as well!
“This was a totally new experience – I have grown up experiencing pain and suffering and I have struggled a lot, which at one point led me to believe life had no meaning – so the love and care shown to me by MSC was very touching.
“They have also given me the opportunity to play and coach, which I have wanted to do since I first came to Australia, but I couldn’t afford to do it until I came to MSC.”
Tresor said the staff at MSC have always supported him through every task or goal he has wanted to achieve; a favour that has made him want to do the same for other young migrants and refugees.
“I am always trying to help other young people who are out there looking to get involved with sport or employment,” he says.
“Working at the MSC is more than just a job for me, it is a chance to learn about other cultures and nationalities, a chance to fit into Australian culture, to improve my English and gain more confidence.
“More importantly, it is a chance to serve and unite my community, to help other people in need and pass on the same welcome and opportunities I was given.”
To find out more about the Multicultural Sports Club, visit www.myq.org.au/msc.
More information on how Access Community Services is creating opportunities for migrants, refuges and asylum seekers is available at www.accesscommunity.org.au.
Find this original article, along with other refugee stories here.