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South Sudanese Refugee Aniel Yuor Wins 2023 Les Murray Refugee Recognition Award

Key Point
  • Aniel Yuor, a South Sudanese refugee, arrived at a refugee camp in Australia when she was 10 years old.
  • She played football for Australia in South Africa and defended refugee women in Geneva.
  • “I told myself that you have a chance and nothing can stop you,” Yuoru said.
As a child, growing up in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp, Aniel Yuor had no reason to live in the moment and think about what her future would be like.
She was born in a camp and raised by her aunt after her parents died.

Children in the camp had few opportunities to try new things.

So after arriving in Australia on a humanitarian visa in 2004 at the age of 10, the South Sudanese refugee decided to make the most of what he had been doing.
“I told myself, you have a chance and nothing can stop you, so I always have a habit of saying yes to everything,” said Yuol.
That attitude has made the 29-year-old a refugee advocate, football player, PhD, model and founder of a beauty pageant for women of color.
She can now add the 2023 Les Murray Prize winner for refugee status to her list of accomplishments.

The award, named after the late SBS sports broadcaster and refugee from Hungary, recognizes outstanding former refugees who have raised awareness of the plight of those who have been displaced.

Building community ties through sports

Yuol came to Australia with her younger sister and cousin.
The culture shock was immeasurable, and it was difficult to get into a regular school, but she eventually set foot in the world of sports.
After starting playing cricket, Yuol turned to soccer. Her talent was so evident that a friend of her family was happy to pay her club fees for her six years.

In 2010, Yuol represented Australia at the FIFA Football for Hope Festival as part of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Anyier Yuol excels in football and represented Australia at the 2010 FIFA Football for Hope Festival in South Africa. sauce: attached

But for her, sport had the potential to provide opportunities for others in the community as well. So while still in her teens, she launched an initiative called Football in the Park.

Regular events have created a safe place for people in her hometown of Sydney’s Blacktown neighborhood to come together, play sports and talk about community issues.
Yuoru’s young age was neither a deterrent nor a real factor for her.

“I find solutions, I find ways. I put it in. Opportunity,” she said.

Advocacy through fashion and beauty

When Yuoru was sidelined with an injury, she wanted to find a way to make a positive impact on society while boosting her self-confidence. I jumped into
“I stumbled upon an online beauty pageant and part of it was that I could champion a program I believed in and do charity work around it. she said. .
However, she found applicants lacking diversity.
“Every time I entered a competition, I realized that I was the only black woman and started facing some challenges regarding inclusion,” Yuoru said.
She saw the situation as another opportunity. A problem she found she could do something to address.
In 2018, Yuoru created a beauty pageant for African-Australian women called Miss Sahara.

Pageant not only started the conversation about inclusion in the fashion industry, but it also provided representation and empowered young women with leadership skills. She has also advocated through her volunteer work with the National Commission on Refugee Women in Australia.

Group of black women in dresses with different patterns.

Anyier Luol created the Ms Sahara beauty pageant to encourage women from Africa to be represented in the fashion industry. sauce: attached

Creating a beauty pageant from scratch might seem like a huge accomplishment, but for Yuol, it was a stepping stone to yet another social impact project.

“When I talk about inclusion, I really wanted to make sure I was living by example because I already had all these skills. , why don’t we expand it? We can have more inclusion for everyone,” she said.

Passion for Advocacy and Representation

Yuol started and still runs her own model management agency, providing opportunities for all kinds of underrepresented groups.
Her passion for representation and habit of saying yes has even led her to chair the Australian National Commission on Refugee Women when she was just 25.
“I was able to collect the voices of refugee women, bring them to Geneva and share them at the Global Refugee Forum. I was.

She is currently completing her PhD while working for Football United, an organization that reaches youth from diverse communities through sport, and has launched her own non-profit organization, Lead Beyond Education.

“I want to contribute to change in Australian society where everyone is equally represented,” she said.
Yuol says both her Australian identity and Sudanese culture make her who she is, and she’s equally proud of them.

Her PhD looks at bride price practices in Australia’s South Sudanese community, which she describes as an interesting meeting where old traditions are being navigated in new surroundings.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/growing-up-in-a-refugee-camp-taught-anyier-to-say-yes-to-every-opportunity/qdsmioabs South Sudanese Refugee Aniel Yuor Wins 2023 Les Murray Refugee Recognition Award

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