This week sees the launch of our Batting for Afghanistan appeal spearheaded by cricketing legend Ian Chappell, who is encouraging cricket-loving Australians to support UNHCR’s efforts in Afghanistan by buying a virtual bat or bidding on an array of amazing auction items.

Afghanistan is experiencing a humanitarian and displacement crisis. 700,000 Afghans have been newly displaced inside the country since the beginning of the year, and a staggering 80 per cent of these are women and children.

Ian Chappell has been Australia for UNHCR’s Special Representative for more than two decades. In 2002 he helped launch our first Afghanistan appeal and has been championing refugee rights ever since.

Ian has rallied a team of high-profile supporters, including former international and current cricketers to support the campaign, including Shane Warne, Ian Healy, Rodney Marsh, Dennis Lillee, Greg Chappell, Trevor Chappell, Mike Gatting, Viv Richards, Lisa Sthalekar, Mel Jones, David Warner and Rashid Khan. Other supporters include seven times major singles champion John Newcombe, the 2021 NRL grand finalists, and Logie Hall of Fame actor Bryan Brown.

“Sport has the power to inspire and unite people from diverse backgrounds and bring hope. I am calling on my friends and colleagues in the sporting world to join with other Australians in supporting this campaign, to offer Afghans the hope they need right now,” Ian says.

“The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is being described as dire. I have worked to support the UN Refugee Agency for many years and I know their life-saving frontline work is vital. The money we raise in this campaign will help provide food, water and emergency shelter to those who desperately need it, as well as helping to build schools and health clinics across the country.”

“Ian is again demonstrating his longstanding commitment and support for forcibly displaced people by spearheading our Batting for Afghanistan appeal,” says Naomi Steer, National Director at Australia for UNHCR.

“More than 3.5 million Afghans are displaced internally with a staggering 700,000 – mostly women and children – having fled their homes this year. They are now facing a terrible winter of conflict, bitter cold, and deadly COVID-19. Through all this turmoil UNHCR has stayed on the ground supporting Afghans. But the needs are huge and I am very grateful to Ian in galvanising the cricketing and sporting community behind this campaign.”

Ian Chappell has been Australia for UNHCR’s Special Representative for more than two decades. In 2002 he helped launch our first Afghanistan appeal and has been championing refugee rights ever since.
© Supplied

"The money we raise in this campaign will help provide food, water and emergency shelter to those who desperately need it, as well as helping to build schools and health clinics across the country.”

Afghan refugee children playing cricket in the UNHCR refugee Akohra Village in Pakistan. Cricket is hugely popular in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

© Sebastian Rich/UNHCR

In addition to buying a $25 virtual cricket bat and leaving a message of support for the Afghan people on a virtual cricket pitch, the campaign offers a number of once-in-a-lifetime sporting items and experiences to bid on via an online auction that will run from November 10-17.

These include:

  • Lunch with Ian Chappell, John Newcombe and Bryan Brown at an iconic Sydney restaurant
  • A Zoom meeting with Shane Warne, Ian Healy and Mike Gatting to discuss the iconic ‘ball of the century’
  • A signed Australian women’s cricket team jersey and Zoom chat with Lisa Sthalekar and Mel Jones
  • A Zoom meeting with dynamic duo Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh
  • Signed Penrith Panthers and South Sydney Rabbitohs jerseys

“I’m calling on all sports fans in Australia to go into bat for Afghanistan and its people,” Ian says.

“Get online now, buy a virtual bat, and register for the online auction. Together we’ll ensure this fundraiser is a winner.”

To buy a bat, or register to bid online, go to www.BattingForAfghanistan.org.au

Or, to donate directly to our Afghanistan emergency:

Donate now

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