Refugee Week 2019
This week at Loreto Normanhurst we have joined in the national recognition of Refugee Week. The theme for this year has been “Share a Meal, Share a Story”. The purpose of the week is to highlight the refugee story and take stock on the ongoing plight of refugees and asylum seekers in our work, and especially within our boarders.
On Thursday morning we hosted the House of Welcome and heard from two guest speakers – Rosemary from Papua New Guinea and Rebeeha from Pakistan. These women shared their own personal stories with an audience of students, staff and parents. The sharing of stories is a powerful way to reach across boundaries, and to demonstrate that the hopes and dreams which we all have for ourselves and our families are shared by people everywhere.
It was striking that while the two stories were unique in culture, circumstance and time, what was common was the stripping away of human rights. The refugee story is one where basic human rights, which are often taken for granted in a country such as Australia, are threatened to the point of persecution. A persecution that leads families to flee their home and all they know in order to keep themselves and their children safe from harm.
The work of the House of Welcome is to attempt to restore these rights wherever and however possible. They seek to empower and advocate for change on a national level as well as within more local communities. Their purpose, as outlined on their website, summarises this best:
“It is our mandate to support and advocate for those seeking our assistance and care. We strive to maintain, nurture and enhance the growth, development and quality of their lives. We journey with our clients and believe in their intrinsic strengths and resilience.”
The House of Welcome relies solely on grants and donations as they receive no government funding. To support the House of Welcome, or to find out more about their work, please visit their website.
It is imperative that as a catholic, Mary Ward community – one with Mission at its heart – that we too work for justice in the area of refugees and asylum seekers, in whatever way we can.
Mr Phillip Merchant
Acting Social Justice Coordinator