Today we hear from Sanya who is a young girl who escaped Sri Lanka with her family. Sanya’s boat crashed off the coast of Indonesia, where people died, including three young siblings. Sanya and her mother had swum for between two and three hours in high seas to reach shore. This is her story with a little added fictional embellishment at the end, because we all need a happy ending, especially Sanya.
*Trigger warning - violence and racism
Today’s story is from Farah, who experienced extreme racial violence with her friend, when she was walking through the streets of Australia with her friend. They both ended up in hospital. They were 14 and 15 at the time in 2018 when it happened.
I am deeply sorry and ashamed this happened to you Farah, and I hope we will do better and stand up to these bullies and racists every time we see it happen.
Last year I judged a Youth Literacy Competition for schooled aged refugee children in Dandenong, Melbourne, Victoria as a part of the STAR Club (Students Taking on Active Role) at the Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre. The STAR club provides support to students with literacy, numeracy and study skills, help build confidence, self-esteem and feelings of connection to school and the wider community and they provide a safe place to study. They can also assist families to gain greater knowledge of the education system and provide opportunities for families to explore practical strategies to support their children’s learning at home.
The City of Greater Dandenong has the largest numbers of people seeking asylum in the country. The area has a population of approximately 152,000 people, more than 60% of whom were born overseas, with 64.% of households speaking a language other than English.
The students are from Afghanistan, Iran, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and Sudan.
I would like to share with you some stories that myself and author Fleur Ferris judged from these wonderful children, and who, despite the intention and behaviour of others, will prevail and become the voices of the next generation.
Today is a story about what it is like to be a refugee from a young girl called Nazdana. Thank you for reading. and if you would like to donate to the STAR Club and the Refugee Program in Dandenong, please click here.