Originally celebrated in 1986, Refugee Week aims to raise awareness towards the positive contributions refugees have made to Australian society, as well as the many issues they face around the world. First organised in Sydney in 1986 by Austcare, Refugee Week has provided a platform to better create a culture of welcome between the various communities throughout the country.
The aims of Refugee Week are:
- Educate the public about the who, where and why the refugees came to Australia
- Help people understand what challenges refugees faced when coming to Australia
- Celebrate the refugees’ contribution to shaping today’s Australia
- Focus on improving better interpersonal cohesion between refugees and the various community
- Provide a platform for communities to do something positive not only for refugees in Australia, but all around the world
- Allow various service providers to use this time to reflect on what they have been providing them, and how they can better their service
Each year, Refugee Week has a theme to celebrate. In 2019, it was “A World of Stories”. This year, the theme was “The Year of Welcome”. With Covid-19 hitting the shores of Australia, this year’s celebration was held for the first time virtually. Partnering with SBS Food Online as part of this year’s ‘share a meal, share a story’ initiative, participants were able to stream and cook along with individuals and families from refugee backgrounds, as they learn of the story behind the dishes.
This year’s Refugee Week took place from June 14 to June 20. If you missed it and would like to know more about this event. Do check out refugeeweek.org.au or wait next year.
By Jerome Ng