Communities Reunite with Recycle & Donate

“War, a stupid war between citizen and citizen” is how Christopher Sunday describes the circumstance that brought him, his then wife and two kids to Perth as refugees in 2001.  Liberia in West Africa is his home, and although he prefers being in Australia as a result of this war, Chris has had to leave family behind, including his parents, his two sisters and two brothers.

One of his sisters has remained in South Africa, but the rest of his immediate family are in Nigeria. As Chris explains “My two sisters and my brother in Nigeria, they are really going through hardship. There is nothing I can do about it. I don’t know what to do, because I don’t have the knowledge. I’m working, I’ve got a good job, I’ve got a good company. They look after me, especially my bosses, they always look out for me, they’re good people”.

Since arriving in Western Australia, Chris has worked as a security guard, but outside of work is heavily involved with the African community here and is Chairperson of the Liberian Community of WA, which had its first meeting in his home in Balga.

Chris discovered Fair Game through his friend Emmanuelle who has completed an internship placement with us. Through Chris we have had the privilege of supporting the three Liberian teams taking part in the Perth African Nations Sports Association (PANSA) Cup of 2022, by providing equipment through our Recycle & Donate Program. The PANSA Cup, which started in 2008, represented 32 African countries in 2022, with 39 teams across juniors, masters and senior categories.  

When asked why the PANSA Cup is so important, Chris told us “It’s very important to the community because we are all together and we are all African, that brings joy and happiness to everyone.” As Chris explains “family doesn’t get in trouble because everyone goes on the soccer field. We go there for entertainment and to play soccer. So everybody is happy”. Not only is the event an opportunity for African communities to come together, but it’s also an opportunity to showcase up and coming players for agents and clubs that are always on the look-out for new talent. 

Through his involvement in these initiatives Chris has been able to find other ways to support his community in WA. For example helping people with applying for mortgages, cars or a job. “I recommend them, they get a job and do what they do for themselves, so every one of them respect me and I respect them” he says “the boys here you know what they call me, they call me father, they don’t call me by my name Chris, they call me Pepe, father, uncle”. 

Chris is also an ambassador for a charity based in Liberia that supports children there and in Sierra Leone called Brown Bean Children Welfare Program (BBCWP). Through this charity kids are given food, clothing and essentials for school.

Upon meeting Chris, his upbeat, kind and open demeanour makes it easy to understand why people feel they can approach him for advice and support, and it is in helping others, says Chris that he is able to work through some of the pain and trauma of his own past and to keep going.

Story by Priscilla Lynch