Councillor Akram Arifi immigrated to Australia from Afghanistan in 2006 when he was 14 years old.
His family settled in Elizabeth East after his father became a permanent resident.
When Cr Arifi arrived in Playford, he was surprised by what he saw.
“It was very clean, the roads were not very congested, and it was a big surprise to high quality sporting facilities,” he said.
“There were lots of open spaces where you could go out and enjoy yourself with your family and friends.”
It was through education and sport that he connected with his new community.
“My teachers were very supportive and helpful, which made it very easy to adjust, at school,” he said.
“Sport has always been important to me because it is vital in breaking down barriers within the community and helps to build relationships between people.”
“Through sport I have been able to find many friends and it also helped me to connect with new people in our community, get outdoors, and stay physically active and healthy.”
He has played in many local clubs in both cricket and soccer, but has excelled at cricket and his most recent season with the Eyre Royals Cricket Club saw him awarded Player of the Year in Para District Division 2 competition.
Given passion for sport he decided to pursue a career in the field studying a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Management at university.
These studies provided opportunities from working at the South Australian Cricket Association to bowling at the Australian National Team and other international teams at training sessions.
“I worked for the South Australian Cricket Association and through that I was involved in coaching primary school students, as well as coordinating cricket programs for the multicultural community,” he said.
“I have had some amazing experiences during the cricket summer. I had the chance to bowl at the international teams. When the World Cup was here in 2015, I remember spending a week with the Afghanistan National Team and bowling to them, which was quite an amazing experience.”
Reflecting on these opportunities, Cr Arifi chose to run for Council in 2018 where he was successfully elected in Ward 5.
“I’ve always been passionate about helping people and I think for me I am fortunate to be able to come to this great country and have the opportunity to a good education and a good career in a safe and supportive community,” he said.
“I wanted to give back to the community that has given me so much. So that motivated me to stand up in Council and help out as many people as I can to create change within our local community by actively advocating for the things that are important to them.”
Cr Arifi said he was passionate about focusing on the essential services the community needed.
He said some of the latest achievements of Council’s footpath program, local community parks and Fremont Park upgrade.
“The future of Playford is community focused,” he said.
“I believe we should continue to focus on providing essential services to our residents which includes new footpaths, upgrading local neighbourhood parks, increasing our tree canopy by planting more trees across our Council area and I hope to see the upgrade of Argana Park which is a major sporting hub in the north.”