Community Conversations with Refugees in Springwood
“There is so much we take for granted in this country” “We are just so ignorant of what people have been through” were just some of the responses to the conversations with Refugees hosted by Sydney Alliance, the churches of the lower Mountains and BMRSG on the last weekend in February.
The Springwood Presbyterian Hall was filled with around 100 people for each of the separate sessions (around 200 in all) as people came to listen to refugees telling their stories, talk together about what they had heard and ask questions of professionals working in the area. Hearing of a families desperate search for safety, constantly relocating from country to country, being separated from a parent whose ethnicity or faith made them a target, seeing dead bodies on the way to school and a different lot of dead bodies on the way home. Hearing too of the violence against a woman who tried to make a difference for others and the struggle for education and opportunity in an oppressive and violent regime from a gentle brave woman of another faith, enriched people’s understanding.
“We only hear information about refugees in a fear mongering way” said one participant, “We don’t hear alternatives for people coming by boat,” “When you hear the story from the horses mouth it helps you get the real picture, these people are so brave” said another. “We need to get these stories out because what you don’t understand you fear.“