SCARF is celebrating Refugee Week with a sold out function on World Refugee Day this Wednesday at Wollongong Town Hall.
Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families has always emphasised the importance of extending the hand of friendship to help build a sense of belonging for refugee arriving in the Illawarra.
UN Refugee Agency UNHCR estimates there are more than 20 million refugees in the world. All of whom have experienced some form of trauma from exposure to war, loss, displacement and encampment.
During the last 12 years the Illawarra region has received more than 2000 refugees from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Since 2005 SCARF has linked local volunteers with refugee families, to provide friendship-based, practical and empowering support.
In the process they have supported more than 1700 men, women and children starting a new life in the Illawarra.
SCARF facilitates a range of targeted programs designed to help refugee entrants achieve their potential.
They help with everything from homework to learning to drive.
- Read more: Young refugees help others in Wollongong
This Wednesday night SCARF is hosting an evening of food, photography and conversation at the “Refugees bring more than they carry” event.
SCARF executive officer Sherryl Reddy said night would explore personal stories of identity, diversity, and humanity.
She said when refugee entrants came to a new country they brought their own story, skills and experience.
In the process they enrich their new homes and communities.
“The one thing nobody can take from you is who you are,” she said.
“And as a refugee, your identity, your story, skills and experience is what you bring with you when you resettle to a country such as Australia. You search for a way to be yourself in a new and foreign place, search for a sense of belonging and a way to share your skills and lived experience with others in your new home. During Refugee Week, we recognise the resilience, strength and positive contribution that people from refugee backgrounds bring to our community and our country.”
- Read more: SCARF seeks funding for refugees
SCARF’s celebration includes youth speakers from refugee backgrounds, cuisine from Asia and the Middle East, and a photography exhibition entitled “The More You Know” featuring settlement stories of seven families from refugee background.
This event will showcase the positive contributions that refugee entrants are making in our region and promote an inclusive Illawarra community where refugees are welcome and supported.