Understanding refugees at Woonona

​IF you are forced to flee your home and country, what might your journey be like?

For many people there is limited understanding of a refugee’s challenge after they flee their home country. Wollongong City Council, in partnership with Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra [MCCI], has been working with 30 students from Woonona High School as they develop a deeper understanding of refugees’ journeys and life in a refugee camp.

The second Illawarra Refugee Challenge – to be held at Woonona High School on 8-9 August – will see a simulated refugee camp set up in the school hall. Student facilitators will lead their peers as they experience refugee journeys and life in a refugee camp.

The display will also be open to all community members on Monday 8 August between 6-8pm at the school hall. There will also be the opportunity to speak with refugees and former refugees who now call Wollongong home.

Sue Savage, Community & Cultural Development Manager, said: “The challenge is an innovative way for students and community members to gain an insight into refugee experiences and journeys.

“As part of the Refugee Challenge we take students through what it is like to have no choice but to flee their home with little or no belongings. We then look at the reality of water and food supplies, sanitation and education in a refugee camp.

“We held the first Challenge at Keira and Wollongong High Schools in August 2015 and found that for many students it was a real eye opener. When these discussions take place, there is a better understanding of the experiences of refugees.”

Last year more than 520 students took part in the refugee challenge and about 70 people attended the open community evening.

MCCI General Manager Chris Lacey said: “MCCI is proud to partner with Council and local students on the Refugee Challenge. Our community has a long history of supporting refugees settle in the Illawarra and make a new life in Australia.

“This Refugee Challenge highlights the often difficult journey of refugees and we congratulate all the young people involved to help raise community awareness of refugees’ experiences and to celebrate cultural diversity and respect.”

For more information you can contact Council’s Customer Service on (02) 4227 7111.

About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


One thought on “Understanding refugees at Woonona

  1. This is a great idea to educate people about Refugees. We need more work to make them feel welcome.


    Posted by Jill Walker | August 3, 2016, 4:33 am

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