Monday, November 25, 2013

Share Their Stories...Chapter 2

Stories are powerful!  They transcend statistics, providing an insight into the hearts and minds of people, inviting us to look beyond the numbers as they reveal a part of people's lives.  When I wrote Share Their Stories I sought to "stop the dehumanizing of people seeking the same basic human rights that we celebrate and share in this country."  I continue to share these stories to the same ends:

Aziz & Masuda arrived in Australia from Afghanistan with their children Ali and Nargis, on a boat via Indonesia, after selling everything they had to escape the violent threats of the Taliban.  The Taliban threatened to kill Aziz’s family in front of him if he didn’t give up his older brother who had previously held a government position in Kabul before fleeing Afghanistan.

Mohommad & Marium also escaped from Afghanistan on the same boat as his brother’s family.  Marium is 8 months pregnant and has struggled to attend night time hospital appointments via public transport.  She has recently been supported by a couple of our church families who have assisted with transport and other practical needs.

Mohommad (aka Sam) & Jamila have come from the Middle East and connected with our church a number of years ago.  They have found a real sense of community through Sam’s volunteer work and Jamila through her involvement with Playgroup where their English skills have greatly developed.

Christine is from Sri Lanka and recently came to us for assistance because she had been taken advantage of by a second hand car dealership.  We are currently advocating for her through Consumer Affairs and Legal Aid, because of the questionable contract that has crippled her financially.

Greg is a volunteer with our Community Support Services who has a heart and a passion to support the most vulnerable people in our community.  He has been partnering with our church to create community and engage socially with the asylum seekers we are supporting.  Two weeks ago we took a group of asylum seekers to Phillip Island for a day out and to visit the famous Penguin Parade, which Greg organised with the support of funding from the local council.   It was such a joy to see the excitement and appreciation of these families as we did life together!  We laughed, we played, we ate together and we listened to heart breaking stories that affirmed the resilience of human beings facing overwhelming challenges.

Keep sharing their stories and change the conversation about asylum seekers...

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