For the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack, a meet-and-greet with the All Blacks rugby players on Thursday, August 29, was a special event that boosted their morals, Stuff reported.
“After the tragedy, this is special for [my children] to see the big teams,” said Osman Ahmed, who was shot in the back when a gunman killed 51 fellow Muslims in the city on March 15.
“It’s our aim to push our kids to have an idea for their sports, to let them forget about what happened and make sure they join with the community and join them.”
On Thursday, All Blacks Sonny Bill Williams, Ofa Tu’ungafasi , Richie Mo’unga and Sam Whitelock met Ahmed, his three children as well as other families affected by the tragedy.
The event was organized by Canterbury Resilience Foundation which was founded to help the youth affected by the attacks.
Williams, who is a Muslim as well as Tu’ungafasi, said he wanted to reconnect with victims he met after the attacks.
“I’ve been down here a few times. But actually seeing some of the brothers, the victims that were in the hospital, they’re actually walking around and getting around now.”
“We’re proud to come and represent the All Blacks,” Williams said.
“Sport is our vehicle that we drive but along with it, we try and push that positive empowering message.”
Mo’unga said it was a “huge opportunity” for the four team members.
“It’s something we’re not taking lightly, to come down and spend time with people that were affected by March 15. It’s really just to share some smiles, give back to give our time.”
Canterbury Resilience Foundation cofounder Abdigani Ali said when NZ Rugby reached out about the idea they were welcomed “with open arms”.
“Sport is actually a key component into youth mental wellbeing,” he said.
“It’s great, [the All Blacks} are our national pride. The kids are really happy to see them.”
Terrorist Brenton Harrison Tarrant killed 51 Muslim worshippers in March-15 attacks as he targeted Al Noor and Linwood mosques.
Earlier this month, Australia’s Richmond Muslim player Bachar Houli and New Zealand star Sonny Bill Williams paid an emotional visit on Friday to the families of the victims, sharing prayers and stories.
Four Manly Sea Eagles players paid an emotional visit on March 28 to one of the mosques which were the scene of a terrorist shooting in Christchurch.
Earlier in March, the All Blacks rugby player Ofa Tu’ungafasi accepted Islam following a visit with his Muslim teammate Sonny Bill Williams over the weekend to the survivors of Christchurch mosque terrorist attack.