Meet Mursal | ASRC Telethon Hero 2024

Mursal Sadat is one of the Afghanistan Women’s National Soccer team players who came to Australia during the country’s evacuation in 2021.

Raised in Kabul, Mursal was living a “normal life as a young girl in Afghanistan” when she started playing soccer for the nationals in 2017. 

“The aim of playing soccer was advocacy for women’s rights,” Mursal says, “but once the Taliban took over control of Kabul in August 2021, we knew it was the end for us.”

Being a player for the national women’s team put Mursal, her team members, and her family at enormous risk, and the team members applied for protection visas from several countries.

“Australia was the first country to accept us,” Mursal says. “They sent visas, but only for us – not our family members.”

Still, the girls took their families to Kabul Airport, where they were met with a nightmarish scene that Mursal likens to a zombie movie.

It took Mursal three days to get into the airport. During the process, she became separated from her family. Mursal and her fellow soccer players were taken to a refugee camp in Dubai where she spent nine days before being transferred to Australia. Finally safe in Australia, she was consumed by survivor guilt that she decided to transform into the fuel of her advocacy efforts.

Here I am – strong and resilient as a refugee woman and fighting for others.”

Mursal completed the Community Advocacy and Power program with the ASRC and graduated in 2023. She received media and public speaking training to develop her skills as a refugee leader in Australia.

When I came to ASRC I realised there are other people seeking asylum who have gone through a lot more than me. I had the privilege and opportunity to become a permanent resident quickly, but then I realised people are living here for twelve, fifteen years, and they don’t even have the right to work or to study, just like in my country.”

The ASRC surprised Mursal with a glimpse of her biggest dream for the future

One of Mursal’s biggest dreams is to become a political leader and fight for women’s and refugees’ rights in Australia and Afghanistan. She is committed to creating positive change for women, especially for those living under Afghanistan’s Taliban regime.

“Once I became a refugee, I realised how hard it is to be forced to be away from your family, but I also understood there is a lot of work to do fighting for our rights as women and refugees. I want to become an advocate and a strong person for the communities that need an opportunity. I want to dedicate my life to the community.”

When Mursal shared her dream, the ASRC team put on their creative hats. With the help of artificial intelligence image generators, we created a portrait of the real Mursal placed in her future dream.

This portrait is a glimpse of her dream of becoming a political leader with the power to touch the hearts of the community and move them to support those who need a hand up to rebuild their lives in safety.

For Mursal, World Refugee Day allows people to focus exclusively on refugees and pay attention to what they are saying. On this day, she will advocate for family reunification, which is her most precious dream that she holds closest to her heart. She hopes the day she can reunite with her family is not too far in her future.

“For me and maybe lots of other young women from refugee backgrounds it’s a hope to come together with their family again and share a meal, laugh together, celebrate, eat. That’s the dream that comes into my mind when thinking about my family.”






Share Button
Leave a reply