In 2012 Hasan Al Taleb and his family fled war-torn Syria and made the arduous journey to Lebanon by foot.
The family was left with no choice but to flee Homs after a bomb demolished their family home, seriously injuring Hasan’s father Ahmed.
Four men had to carry Ahmed for three days to get the family to safety in Lebanon.
On Friday, the now 15-year-old Hasan opened up about escaping Syria and finding a new home in Australia, to Edmund Rice College students.
He was the guest speaker at the school’s annual Detention4Detention campaign.
ERC captain Julian Cable said the aim of the campaign was to show solidarity to children in immigration detention in Nauru and Manus Island.
College students also made the number 45 on the school’s ground, signifying the 45 children still in detention.
’’There has been high levels of sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse and high levels of self harm with children and adults in these detention centres,’’ Julian said.
‘’We believe this isn’t a place they should be kept and we believe that Australia should be doing a much better job in accepting these people into our communities.
‘’This is the fifth year of the campaign.
‘’I believe numbers of children in detention have decreased rapidly since this campaign but there is still a lot of work to do and we are not going to stop and the school is going to continue till our work is finished.’’
ERC director of identity, Judith Hurley said the campaign was held to coincide with the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA)’s National Week of Prayer and Action.
‘’We Can do better is this year’s theme,’’ Mrs Hurley said.
‘’When Australia gets it right, it gets it really right, such as offering 12,000 Syrians a safe haven.
When Australia gets it right, it gets it really right, such as offering 12,000 Syrians a safe haven.
‘’But we’ve still got 45 children on Nauru. They are in community detention. They still don’t have adequate access to adequate education, resources, health care or freedom because they can’t leave Nauru.
‘’When we look at the United Nations convention on the right of a child as well as the convention on refugees, we think we can do better. That’s all we are saying. We can do better than what we are doing.’’