Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'll Call Australia Home

At the beginning of this month I managed to catch I'll Call Australia Home, a documentary aired on SBS that followed two refugee families. The first story looked at a family from Sudan that had been reunited in Australia after many years. The second story followed a family from Burma who had been living in a refugee camp for seventeen years and had been finally accepted into Australia.

Often it might be taken for granted that once refugees are granted permanent permanent protection in a country such as Australia that the challenges are pretty much over. After all, they are no longer at risk, they are away from conflict and they are moving to lands of opportunity. However, it is extremely naive of us to think this way. Yes they are safe, yes they have a permanent home, but the challenges are not necessarily over.

The documentary highlighted some of these issues. There is often fear, they are going to a place that they have very little knowledge about. There is grief, sometimes they are leaving family and the lives that they are familiar with. When they arrive they are confronted with an alien lifestyle, a foreign language and unfortunately racist and xenophobic attitudes in the communities that are meant to be their new homes.

Over the next little while I will be looking at ways in which communities can be better prepared to receive refugees into their communities. The focus has perhaps too often been on the initial stage of the process (gaining acceptance into a country) and to create greater understanding and a smoother transition there needs to be more education and more processes in place to look at the way refugees can become accepted and welcomed members of the local community.

No comments:

Post a Comment