As the world works to resolve a major international refugee crisis, Australia puts up a front. As a bystander, I’ve witnessed people turned away from public places for no reason other than their religious affiliation and appearances.
Refugees are granted a visa anywhere from three months to a year before they have to apply to the government to extend their stay. Families are left uneasy since they don’t know whether or not they will be able to remain in Australia or if they will be deported back to their home countries.
During my time abroad, I was lucky enough to volunteer with ISA in Sydney with a few refugee families. Our mission was to talk to the families and make them feel welcome in Australia despite any inimical encounters they may have had.
Many pictures taken throughout the day weren’t of the families themselves due to the respect of their privacy and protection from their governments. A group of ISA students and I brought food for the refugees, and we sat and talked to them about their hobbies and lifestyle which including things like crocheting.
We also spent the day face painting children, having an egg toss, blowing bubbles, painting nails, and teaching the women how to make string bracelets. Overall, the day was a rewarding opportunity to give back to the community we are staying in as well as get a deeper understanding of the controversial discussions of refugees throughout Australia.
The world awaits…discover it.