5 ways to celebrate Refugee Week

From events and volunteering to films and books, make a connection this year.

Refugee Week, from Sunday 18 to Saturday 24 June, celebrates the contributions refugees and people seeking asylum make in our communities. Here in Australia the annual weeklong program of events and activities aims to raise awareness and educate people about who refugees are and why they have come to our country. It also helps people understand the challenges they face while creating a culture of welcome.

The theme this year is finding freedom, asking us all to reflect on what it means to be free. To live without the fear of war, to have your basic human rights upheld, to live in equality and without the fear of persecution are some examples of what freedom means.

Here are 5 ways we invite you to get involved and show your support this Refugee Week.

Refugee Council of Australia ambassador Abang Anade Othow is guest speaker at Reginald Murphy Community Centre

1. Attend an event

There are many great events happening during Refugee Week where you can learn more about refugees and connect through storytelling.

We’re hosting free events at our community centres throughout the week. Hear from Refugee Council of Australia ambassadors and high school students about their lived experience, share a meal with passionate Iranian chef and refugee Khatereh Rabieim, or watch some powerful documentaries.

Reginald Murphy Community Centre is hosting an African themed night, with guest speaker Abang Anade Othow, interactive drumming, dancing and a live performance from Echoes of African Music. You’ll also get the chance to sample food from other cultures prepared by Parliament on King, a refugee-based catering kitchen.

Explore events happening in Sydney to celebrate Refugee Week.

2. Watch films

Join the library to access our free streaming services with an amazing collection of Australian and international films.

Watch Revenir (To Return) on Kanopy. The documentary film follows Kumut Imesh, a refugee from the Ivory Coast now living in Paris, as he returns to the African continent. He attempts to retrace the same journey that he himself took when forced to flee civil war in his country.

Intimate portraits of the men, women and children who have found themselves in 2 of the biggest refugee camps in Jordan for Syrian refugees are explored in the feature documentary Watan available to watch on Beamafilm and Kanopy.

After the Fall is an ABC Australian Story episode about mother and son, Mahboba Rawi and Nawid Cina. From their home in Sydney, they manage to evacuate vulnerable children, women and carers from the orphanages they founded in Afghanistan when the Taliban took control.

There’s also a recommended list of films, documentaries and shows about refugees and people seeking asylum you can watch and share with others on the Refugee Week website.

3. Read books

Our library members have access to a huge collection of books, ebooks and eaudiobooks. The reading list includes Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend but the Mountains, an account of his 6 years of incarceration on Manus Island. In The Ungrateful Refugee, Dina Nayeri weaves together the story of her own refugee journey as a child forced to flee Iran, with the stories of others making their own journeys today.

The Refugee Week website has also curated a range of excellent fiction and non-fiction books for you to read this Refugee Week.

Volunteers at the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown. Credit: Erin Black / Asylum Seekers Centre

4. Consider volunteering

The Refugee Council of Australia has opportunities for volunteers to help with research, events, communications, campaigns and advocacy work. It also provides contact details of member organisations who need volunteers. These include organisations like the Asylum Seekers Centre and Refugee Advice and Casework Service which has received support through our grants and sponsorship program.

5. Support refugee businesses

From food and fashion to arts and trades, there are many refugee-powered businesses right here in Sydney and across Australia. Social enterprise the Welcome Merchant makes it easy for you to find and support them with a directory of refugee and asylum seeker entrepreneurs.

Refugees and people seeking asylum are welcome in our city

We’re proud to be one of the country’s most diverse cities and home to refugees and people seeking asylum from around the world. We’ve been an official refugee welcome zone since 2005, a commitment to upholding human rights, demonstrating compassion and enhancing cultural and religious diversity.

Refugees and people seeking asylum have free or low-cost access to many of our facilities and services, including libraries and community centres. Residents can apply for an access card that provides a reduced rate to our aquatic and fitness centres and tennis courts.

Meet Abang, Simon and Khatereh

We're proud to welcome them, and all refugees and people seeking asylum, to our city.

Embedded content: https://youtu.be/xLlcMwyYwf4

Posted . Last updated .

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