Refugee Week 2020: Official Line-up, Resources & More

June 10, 2020

With just over a week to go until it kicks off Australia’s first-ever digital Refugee Week, the Refugee Council of Australia has been busy, busy, busy planning at the Refugee Council (RCOA) HQ and are so excited to share with you what they’ve got in store! 

Via the Refugee Council of Australia:

Digital entertainment program
With the future of lockdown restrictions uncertain, we’ve put together an incredible week of digital entertainment which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home:  

  • Sunday, 14th June, 6.15pm, On ‘Welcome’: Migration, First Nations and Refugee Communities: for the official Refugee Week 2020 launch, panelists from first nations and refugee communities take a deep dive into the meaning of ‘welcome’ and the intersections of indigenous and refugee rights. Hosted in collaboration with the Wheeler Centre.* 
  • Monday, 15th June, 6.15pm, Words Without Borders: an evening of spoken word and poetry performed by members of Australia’s Refugee communities, in collaboration with The Wheeler Centre.* 
  • Wednesday, 16th June, 12pm, Voices from the front line: Refugee women and COVID-19: Refugee and asylum seeking women and leaders of frontline services share their experiences of life during the COVID-19 pandemic.* 
  • Wednesday, 16th June, Global storytelling night, in partnership with Refugee Week UK.  Join four amazing people from around the world as they share their stories of ‘welcome’ and ‘imagination’, based on this year’s themes. MC’ed by the awesome Mariam Issa.* 
  • Thursday, 18th June, 1pm, Foundations for Belonging: Join ABC’s Lydia Feng in conversation with Shanthi Robertson (Western Sydney University), Dor Achiek (Settlement Services International) and Shukufa Tahiri (Refugee Council of Australia) for this special Australia at Home event.* 
  • Thursday 18th June, 4pm, In-Depth Conversation: Join Cate Blanchett in conversation with Australia for UNHCR Special Representative Marta Dusseldorp.  
  • Friday 19th June, 7.30pm, For Sama: Tune in for this special screening of Oscar-nominated and multi-award winning film For Sama. In partnership with the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival.  
  • Saturday, 20th June: STARTTS annual Humanitarian Awards, to celebrate World Refugee Day and wrap up Refugee Week.* 

Click here to receive a daily update during Refugee Week, to let you know what’s happening every day and share with people who might be interested.  

Of course, they also encourage you to host your own event, and this year, they’ve put together everything you need to make it easier than ever.  Read on to find out how.  

*These events are free to attend. If you would like to make a ticket donation to support the costs of Refugee Week, please click here.  All participants from refugee and first nations backgrounds are paid for their participation and any further funds raised go to supporting the advocacy of the Refugee Council of Australia. 

Resources  
Click the button below to head to the Refugee Week website, to obtain all of the 2020 resources, including posters, resource packs and more. You can also read about our incredible ambassadors and much more.


Host your own event: Share a meal, share a story

If you’d like to get involved in Refugee Week 2020 but you’re not sure how, consider signing up to host an event.  You can organise any kind of event you’d like and register it here to include it in the official tally.  

However, we know you’re busy people, so they’ve made it easier than ever for you to host a great event, by putting together everything you need to share a special meal and a story with friends, family, colleagues, or others in your community – either in person or online.  

We’ve teamed up with SBS Food Online to bring you a suite of recipe videos featuring members of Australia’s refugee communities cooking their favourite dishes and letting you know what that meal means to them.  You can cook these dishes for your friends and family and share the story that goes with that dish, all while raising money for a great cause!  

What’s more, we’ve compiled over 20 recipes and stories into our first ever e-cookbook, featuring a mouth-watering collection of starters, mains and desserts for you to enjoy again and again.  

The cookbook and videos will be released during Refugee Week, but in the meantime, head to the Share a Meal, Share a Story page to register your event, pick your recipe and invite people along!

Face to Face: Host an incredible speaker

We’re spoiling you, you say?  Yes, yes we are. Another treat we’ve lined up for Refugee Week 2020 is that you can now host our amazing Face to Face speakers in your workplace, community group or otherwise.  In addition, the program is now available both online and in person.   

Since 2014, the Face to Face program has brought people with lived refugee experience into schools to share their experiences with students. The program has been a huge success, providing a powerful way for kids to connect with the refugee experience on a personal level.  Now, for the first time, you can also participate as a workplace, or other group, online or in person.   

Samah Shda (pictured) is one of our incredible speakers. She and her family are Assyrian and lived in Iraq as she was growing up.  They were forced out of their home by extremist groups and spent years waiting in limbo to find a safe home. In 2019, they were resettled in Sydney. Samah says, “We were beyond happy, and more than ready to plan our futures in a place where we felt safe and dignified”. 

Since then, Samah has worked hard for refugee rights; she is actively involved with refugee resettlement organisations and refugee-led national advocacy networks. As well as participating in the Face to Face program, Samah volunteers with Amnesty International and is currently leading a research project focused on access to higher education in Australia for people from refugee backgrounds. Samah says, “I believe in using my own experience and story to raise awareness”.  

All our speakers are highly trained and paid for their time. Click the button below to read more about the program and book an amazing speaker like Samah for your school or workplace.  

#NobodyLeftBehind: Updates and a win!

When we wrote to you last, we let you know about the launch of our #NobodyLeftBehind campaign, which calls on the government to extend medical, financial and legal support in the COVID-19 pandemic to all people in Australia, including those on temporary and bridging visas.  Since then, we have been working hard to make this a priority for our decision-makers: 

  • Just yesterday, we learnt that the NSW government has responded to our joint advocacy on this issue, with a $6 million support package for people excluded from the Federal Government’s COVID-19 response.  This includes a special allocation for refugees and people seeking asylum. Read our full release here
  • We led a group of organisations who met with the senior advisors of the Prime Minister and Immigration Ministers, and organised for them to hear directly from people seeking asylum who have lost their jobs in the economic downturn and are currently facing homelessness; 
  • We facilitated a public letter to the Government signed by 30 councils, calling on them to include people seeking asylum and refugees in the COVID-19 response; 
  • We’ve been working on stories with key media outlets in ensuring this issue stays in the public eye; 
  • Behind the scenes, we’ve been working with medical groups to support them in advocating to Health Minister Greg Hunt; 
  • We’ve been working on the next stage of the campaign, which will focus on around 16 000 children and their families who are at risk of homelessness due to the lack of support during this crisis.  Keep an eye on your inbox as this will be launched in the coming weeks. 

Thank you so much for your support on this important campaign.  It’s the biggest and most ambitious campaign we’ve ever led because we truly feel it’s necessary.  Yesterday’s win was an example of how many state governments have stepped up to fill the gaps left by the federal government. As many Australians begin to return to normality, it’s absolutely crucial that we continue to highlight the situation for the hundreds of thousands of people who have been left at risk. 

Opportunities

Nextdoor: connect with your community 
When you are new to a neighbourhood, or to a country, meeting locals and finding essential information for your local community can be difficult and intimidating. Nextdoor is a new, free platform for neighbourhoods that will make this easier for you, and will help people form true, meaningful connections with those around them. The Refugee Council of Australia has recently signed up as a partner of Nextdoor, because we see the huge benefits of  neighbours to connect and communicate with one another, particularly for those who are seeking safety. 

Nextdoor are also seeking Councils to sign up to their free NextDoor for Public Services engagement tool, designed to help councils and other public services communicate directly with the neighbourhoods they serve. 

SSI PhotoVoices project
What does welcome mean to you? Refugee Week Event Partner SSI is calling for your photos to celebrate Refugee Week 2020! Submit a photo and short caption about what feeling welcomed means to you for our online exhibition. 

Upload your photo by clicking the link above, to show the world that you welcome and support Refugee Week. We can’t wait to see your photos! 


Media

National
Organisations fear humanitarian crisis unfolding due to lack of federal support for people seeking asylum
Commonwealth Ombudsman to report on COVID-19 responses in detention facilities
Research aims to improve screening for domestic violence so refugee women get the help they need
Coronavirus inquiry told of ‘shocking and wilful neglect’ of temporary visa holders in Australia

International
First Rohingya Refugee Dies of COVID-19 in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar
Australian government and G4S settle lawsuit by staffer in Manus Island riots

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