Asylum seeker batting for big things
A Tamil asylum seeker living in Melbourne’s west is making a name for himself in local cricket after winning several achievement awards and becoming an ambassador for the sport.
Thulfacker Kachchu Mohammed fled religious persecution in Sri Lanka five years ago and has called Werribee home ever since.
Falling in love with sport back in Sri Lanka, Thulfacker was the sports council president and captain of the cricket and soccer teams at university while he completed a Bachelor in Commerce.
However trouble arose when Thulfacker who is Muslim, married a Hindu woman.
Both he and his wife’s communities disapproved of the union, and they received threats from both sides.
“Muslims don’t accept marriage to a Hindu person in Sri Lanka, and vice versa,” Thulfacker said.
“The military gave us trouble too, I had to get a police report and travel to the south of Sri Lanka with my wife and young son,” he said.
The pressure became too much for his wife who attempted to take her own life.
“When my wife lay in hospital recovering, I said to her we have our son, we must try to go somewhere safe and she promised to not do it again,” he said.
Thulfacker went to Dubai and tried to bring his wife and son over, however their claims for refuge were rejected.
He and his wife then made the decision to leave Sri Lanka by boat, leaving his son with his wife’s parents with a plan to eventually bring him to Australia once they had obtained a visa.
Although they are still waiting for their refugee status to be determined, Thulfacker said they are very happy in Australia.
“Every day we meet different communities, people from different religions accept us, it is so peaceful here,” he said.
“I went 300 days without seeing my wife, now I get to see her every day. There was no peace for us like this in Sri Lanka,” he said
Not long after arriving in Australia, Thulfacker said he wanted to start playing cricket again.
He joined the Western Suburbs Churches and Community Cricket Association and in 2014 was awarded best batsman.
He also captained a cricket team for asylum seekers and refugees, which was supported by Cricket Victoria.
“The team had so many nationalities coming together, Afghanis, Syrians, Sri Lankans, it was great,” Thulfacker said.
“Cricket Victoria supported us by providing clothes, helmets and food for our events,” he said.
Now an ambassador for Cricket Victoria, and playing for both Kingsville and Braybrook cricket clubs, Thulfacker will be awarded Best Batsman by the United Tarneit Sports Club next week.
“I am very proud of what I have achieved here,” Thulfacker said.
However Thulfacker said with animosity still between their families back in Sri Lanka, his parents are forbidden from having any contact with their son, who is still living with his wife’s parents.
The couple also have a four year old son who was born in Australia, and Thulfacker is teaching him how to play cricket.
“My son has freedom and opportunities that I never had in Sri Lanka, hopefully one day he will play cricket for Australia,” he said.
AMES Australia Staff Writer