WORLD number one tennis player and UNICEF UK Ambassador Andy Murray warmed up for the Australian Open with a group of refugee children in Melbourne yesterday, January 12.
The tennis star, who is in Australia ahead of the Australian Open Tennis Championship which begins on Monday, played a friendly game with Syrian siblings Cristin, 12, Cathrine, ten, and Elias, nine, who fled Syria with their parents in 2014.
Also on the court was 12 year old Medina Sayer whose parents were Afghan refugees, and Amor Jasika, 12, Australia’s U12’s champion whose parents resettled in Australia after fleeing the war in Bosnia.
After the meet up, Andy said: “Playing tennis as a kid brought me so much joy so it was great to have a game with the children. I can’t imagine what some of them been through, being forced to flee their homes in places like Syria and their subsequent journey finding refuge here in Australia.
“It’s great to know that organisations such as UNICEF are not only working hard to help keep refugee children around the world safe, but also helping rebuild their lives.”
In his role as a UNICEF UK Ambassador, Andy has been raising funds and awareness for children in danger, including the conflict in Syria. Last year, the tennis event Andy Murray Live raised nearly AUD $500,000 for young people both around the world and in Scotland, and in 2015 Andy donated money to UNICEF’s emergency Syria appeal for every ace he served through the initiative ‘Andy’s Aces’.
Nearly 250 million children around the world are growing up in countries affected by conflict and nearly 50 million children have been uprooted from their homes.
Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.