Earlier this week I watched the documentary ‘Border Politics’. Julian Burnside, an Australian barrister, traverses the globe to see how other Western countries treat refugees. There are moments that stick with you. Like the realisation that in a few years there will be millions of children who will have grown up with little to no education, who have spent their lives in refugee camps.
As Julian Burnside says:
“It is not adequate to look back in future ages and say we regret what we did”.
I know I need to help bring about change. I’m not sure what that looks like yet. Maybe it starts with inviting you, my network, to watch the documentary. You can view the trailer below.
Next, we can write to our local MPs and ask some simple questions to ascertain their views on refugee policy. If their views do not reflect our own, then perhaps its time we stopped voting for them. For some helpful letter writing tips check out Julian Burnside’s website – http://www.julianburnside.com.au/write-to-federal-mps…/
Over the past week I’ve looked for other ways we can make a difference. Here’s some suggestions (primarily Sydney-based so I encourage you to share other resources using the comments section below).
The Asylum Seeker Centre
Laptop Donation Program – Help someone seeking asylum by donating your second hand laptops, tablets and smartphones. Your donation will assist a person seeking asylum to study, look for work and contact family overseas. It will also help them to deal with government agencies and organisations.
Food + Toiletry Donation – click here for a list of most needed items.
Support local refugee businesses
Four Brave Women, a cafe in Summer Hill is run by refugee women serving food of their cultural background. The aim is to give refugees experience of working in a commercial kitchen, serving customers and managing the day-to-day running of a small business in Australia. After a cycle of eight weeks, the goal is for them to gain enough capital and knowledge to branch out and establish a business of their own.
Addison Road Street Food Markets runs twice a month. You can support refugees and recently-settled migrants by purchasing their food products.
Volunteer with the NSW Humanitarian Hub
The NSW Humanitarian Hub is a collaborative project between four organisations who work with refugees and people seeking asylum: The Asylum Seekers Centre, The House of Welcome, The Jesuit Refugee Service and The Refugee Advice and Casework Service.
The Hub provides a centralised website for people who want to volunteer with these organisations. Check out the current opportunities here.
For other suggestions for how you can support our refugee community, be inspired by this article by Caitlin Chang – https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/life/culture/article/2018/06/27/six-ways-you-can-help-refugees-and-asylum-seekers