In my last blog I mentioned that we will be having a blog takeover this week. I’m loving all the stories that your colleagues have shared and reading all about the activities and work that you’ve done across the country. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.
By Alenka Jeram
On World Refugee Day, held every year on 20 June, we celebrated and commemorated the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. We in Migration Support Programs (MSP) feel privileged to work with such a strong, inspiring and resilient client group and help them settle, feel welcomed or reconnect with loved ones. We have a long proud history of doing this work.
Refugee Week is Australia’s peak annual activity to raise awareness about the issues affecting refugees and celebrate the positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society. The theme for Refugee Week 2018 is #WithRefugees.
A ‘Refugee’ is a person; boy, girl, woman or man. Not a label, but a human being with a beating heart just like you and me. And the refugee experience can be prolonged or it can be fleeting. Today there are unfortunately more refugees than ever! MSP team in WA is currently supporting over 700 people who recently arrived to Australia as refugees, and many of them are children and young people.
Refugee Week provides an opportunity for the Australian public to recognise and better understand the courage and contribution of refugees. People from across the world who have sought and in some cases found, safety in Australia. Hearing their stories during refugee week reminds us that these powerful people are defined by so much more than their past. People who today are making many valuable contributions to Australian society and who show immense courage and resilience.
Our staff and volunteers were busy during the week promoting the resilience and positive contribution of asylum seekers and refugees. We delivered our In Search of Safety program in 26 schools thus reaching over 850 children in one week!!! Additionally we hosted two community events, one in City of Belmont and one at BankWest.
Day Respite at Lady Lawley Cottage is getting a facelift!
By Aoife Field
Work at Lady Lawley Cottage (LLC) is underway in the Day Respite area. With the sensory room complete, a new and contemporary activity space is being created. A technology room for all the young ‘gamers’ to hang out in is taking shape. This room will be a space for children and young people with disability to retreat to and play on devices that are equipped with apps tailored for children with Autism. There is also the Telstra Kids digital kit which LLC successfully secured through the Telstra Kid Foundation. A new family room with a library and a Snoezeln Room™ are being developed as well as upgrades to the Soft Play Room and Craft Room…we are all really excited so watch this space!
Australian Red Cross Handbook on IHL Mooting
By Fauve Kurnadi
The IHL team recently published a Handbook on International Humanitarian Law Mooting which is now available on our website.
The publication is primarily targeted at law students, particularly those interested in or preparing to compete in an IHL mock trial. However, the Handbook contains a diverse range of chapters relevant to anyone with an interest not just in IHL, but also in the work of Australian Red Cross and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement more broadly vis-à-vis the laws of war.
This publication is intended to be a Handbook not only for prospective mooters, but also for students, legal practitioners, humanitarian actors, and anyone seeking to enhance their knowledge of IHL. The chapters are authored by some of Australia’s most prominent figures and experts in IHL (many of whom are Australian Red Cross volunteers), members of the IHL team, and other Australians working in IHL both locally and internationally.
Each section of the Handbook offers a collection of introductory readings. Part One focuses on the structure and work of the Movement and includes chapters such as, ‘What is the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’ and ‘IHL in Australia and the role of Australian Red Cross’. For those curious about how the work of our IHL team contributes to the Movement’s overarching IHL mandate, or for those needing a refresher on how the Movement is structured, this section is for you!
The final section in the Handbook, ‘IHL in Focus’, discusses a few of the most current and topical issues in IHL and the evolution of these issues both from a legal and humanitarian perspective. Two of these highlighted issues include ‘Nuclear Weapons’ and ‘Health Care in Danger’, both of which are central to the work of Australian Red Cross and our Strategy 2020 outcomes.
Australian Red Cross staff and volunteers are encouraged to engage with this resource to increase their knowledge of IHL and its application both in Australia and internationally, and to understand the role that each of us plays in promoting respect for these laws and the preservation of human dignity in times of armed conflict.
Tea Time with clients and volunteers
By Meredith Hudson
Clariana, Jules, Meredith and Shirley from the Social Support team in Canberra organised a morning tea for clients and volunteers at the Sprout Café at the Arboretum on Thursday 14 June.
Invitations were sent out and there was a great deal of interest and enthusiasm from one and all wanting to attend. Numbers were limited which prompted people to get in early.
The big day eventually dawned and the excitement within the team was palpable. With a few clients requiring transport, the team headed off in the sturdy Red Cross vehicles picking up our charges and delivering them safe and sound to the Arboretum. With people seated, introductions made and the conversation flowing freely, coffees, teas and cakes were provided with everyone tucking in with gusto.
Some old friends found and new ones made, phone numbers swapped and photos taken, the event provided a chance for people to connect or re-connect and everyone really enjoyed themselves. Comments like – “You should do this more often”, “Had a fantastic time”, “When’s the next one?” and “Thank you so much” rang through the lofty heights of the coffee shop.
With reassurances that we would hold another one as soon as we could, our charges safely tucked away in the Red Cross vehicles again for the journey home, the team were filled with a great deal of satisfaction and delight that they had organised and provided a wonderful morning of fun, light heartedness and joy.
This is what it’s all about.
The Werribee Bears
It takes a team to #BeatLoneliness
By Ebony Gaylor
It takes a team to #BeatLoneliness and with more than 500 teams registered and over 4,000 people playing for Team Loneliness, we are starting to see the #BeatLoneliness campaign come to life in communities around Australia. Check out some of the conversations and activities that are happening on Facebook and Instagram so far.
We’ve had entire sport clubs jump on board too. Last Saturday the Victorian NRL Werribee Bears represented Team Loneliness as part of ‘State of Mind’ round at their home ground. The club recently experienced devastation with the loss of one of their under 15s team members. A minute silence was held in remembrance before their match against the S.E.T Titans. Over 230 players from Under 12s up to First Grade wore the Beat Loneliness jerseys match to create awareness of loneliness and issues surrounding mental health.
Kaylene from National Indigenous Training Academy in Uluru was thinking of starting a touch footy team for her trainees but didn’t know where to start. Then she came across the #BeatLoneliness campaign which aligned with everything she was trying to achieve. The National Indigenous Training Academy takes on 100 trainees each year from all over Australia, who have had to leave behind family and friends, so loneliness is a problem that some of them face every day.
Tiahnee wanted to create a family away from family, and the Team Loneliness jerseys gave her the ‘excuse’ she was looking for to invite people along. What started off as one small Touch Footy team has now grown into a popular event that takes place in town every Thursday with over 40 people coming along to help #BeatLoneliness.
Bring More Good - Our End-of-Financial-Year Fundraising Campaign
We’ve been receiving incredible support for our campaign to ‘Bring More Good’ and help the most vulnerable people in Australia and across the region. Like in the case of Colin who looks forward to having a chat with one of our Telecross volunteers every day. Or for Nur, who can now access clean water in the refugee camp her family has found safety in. I encourage you to share these wonderful stories with your friends and families. We’re very grateful to everyone who helps us spark more life-changing connections like this, bringing their ‘Good’ to the world before the end of the financial year.