12 months. 12 ways to build a welcoming Australia.
The Refugee Council of Australia is declaring 2020, the #YearOfWelcome. You can add your name to the cause and we will send you one action each month to help foster a more welcoming and inclusive Australia towards refugees and people seeking asylum. The actions will be simple, locally-focused actions.
January – A video message of welcome – We are creating a crowdsourced welcome video, to be shown to people who arrive in Australia. We are asking you to submit a message of support to newly arrived refugees, which will be collated into a short, impactful video that lets people know they are supported by the Australian community when they most need to hear it. Read more about the action here.
February – Learn from people of refugee background – Too often, people with direct lived experience as refugees are not at the centre of discussions about refugee policy and representation. This month we are asking you to take some time to listen. We have a range of videos you can watch, including an incredible session from our Refugee Alternatives Conference from February 13-14 2020 in Brisbane. This session was on the topic ‘Unpacking Lived Experience’ and was a profound and insightful discussion.
March – Email your MP about COVID-19 – The world has completely shaken by the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic. Every part of our society has been affected, this includes refugees and people seeking asylum, yet so far they have been mostly forgotten in the Federal government’s response. This month we are asking you to email your local MP asking them to raise five key issues with key Ministers to ensure people have the support they need to stay safe, healthy and connected.
April – A call to action from Shanika to contact the Prime Minister – Shanika is seeking asylum in Australia and was stood down as a result of COVID-19. She is calling on you to contact Scott Morrison on Twitter to send him a message that he needs to ensure #NobodyLeftBehind during this pandemic.
May – Host a Share a Meal, Share a Story community event – This month we are inviting you to gather with friends and family, at your house, in the park, or via Zoom, and participate in our community event ‘Share a Meal, Share a Story’. The concept is pretty simple. What better way to celebrate the amazing enrichment refugee communities bring to Australia than gathering with friends and family to share food and share stories? We have provided you with a range of recipes and stories you can use and a fundraising page where you can ask attendees to donate to the important work of the Refugee Council of Australia. Register your event today!
June – Attend a Refugee Week Official Event – Each year we host a range of events to help mark Refugee Week. The week is an opportunity to celebrate the resilience of refugee communities and the richness we all benefit from in a diverse, multicultural society. Be sure to check out the amazing events on offer, ranging from a panel discussion focused on the idea of ‘welcome’, a global story-telling night, film screenings, award ceremonies and more!
July – Read and Share our latest report on offshore detention – On 19 July 2013, the Australian government announced that anyone who arrived in Australia seeking asylum, by boat, would be taken to offshore detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island. It has been seven years of suffering since then, and this cruel system is still in place. To mark the anniversary we launched a report outlining the current situation. Please read and share it widely!
August – Help us ensure NoChildLeftBehind –Right now there are over 16,000 children seeking asylum, most of their families have no access to basic supports such as JobKeeper, JobSeeker, and for some, even Medicare. We need you to help us share this message far and wide. Sign our petition, share our joint statement for educators and help us get as many schools as possible involved in the National Week of Solidarity, September 6-12.
September – Share Fatma’s story with your friends and family – Fatma, her partner and four children, were doing ok before Covid-19. They had an income, her children did well at school. But the pandemic changed all of that. Fatma and her partner lost all their work and struggled on the limited savings they had, which quickly ran out. This story is unfortunately not unique. Help us share it to raise awareness about the lack of support being provided to people seeking asylum during the pandemic.
October – Book a Face to Face education program – At the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), we strongly believe that the people best placed to lead the way to a humane refugee policy are those who have lived the refugee experience first-hand. This principle underpins all our work, and one of the programs we are most proud of is our Face to Face speakers bureau. Book a speaker from them today!
November –Sign the petition to Peter Dutton to ensure support for refugees – In the past two months, hundreds of recognised refugees and people seeking asylum have been sent eviction notices by Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton. He has given them three weeks to pack up their lives and leave the community detention facility they are in. While they will have work rights and Medicare, they will be given no support to find employment, and cannot access any form of income support. Can you sign our petition to Minister Dutton today calling on him to extend financial support to help people stay safe and not end up homeless?