This week the College recognised National Refugee week.

In and outside classes there has been a focus on recognising the stories and raising the profile surrounding the issue of Refugees and people seeking asylum.

The theme for Refugee this year is, UNITY – The way forward. The common theme is a reminder that, regardless of our differences, we all share a common humanity. It aims to showcase the spirit of welcome and support that characterises Australian communities and to highlight the importance of working together to guarantee better opportunities for refugees in Australia. This theme mirrors the very heart of the Gospel – that God embraces all people as family, and we have the privilege of doing likewise.

Monday: The week began as staff gathered and shared from the E-Cookbook purchased by the College. Staff shared their learnings of refugee experiences whilst enjoying a plate of food prepared from the cookbook.

The Ebook is accessible here with a small donation:

On Tuesday: students and staff gathered to form a ‘Circle of Solidarity’. Here we stood together to publicly recognise and show our support for people seeking asylum and express hope for a united future.

Part of Anton’s (Justice and Solidarity Prefect) speech included:

To show unity as a country doesn’t start with politicians, it starts with us. Unity is an attitude, an action and acceptance of all people, including people from refugee backgrounds. This week at St Joseph’s, we are given a unique opportunity to make time to learn about the experiences of people from refugee backgrounds and to celebrate the valuable contributions made by refugees to the world. As a catholic community in the Edmund Rice tradition, we believe people seeking asylum, should be treated compassionately and humanely, as we would want to be treated as we all aim to live the Golden Rule in the name of St Joseph. We believe in a fast, efficient and fair process that enables people to rebuild their lives and thrive in the community.

Later in the year, once COVID restrictions ease, the College will host a screening of “Scattered people”

Scattered People

Scattered People is a 60-minute Australian documentary about the transformational and healing power of music – bringing together people, cultures and countries. Music can heal and transform on a personal and community level. But does music have the power to restore Australia’s compassion for some of the most vulnerable people in the world? The film features Saha and Mas, two young Iranian musicians. Fleeing their homeland and seeking asylum in Australia, they end up in immigration detention where Mas encounters the Scattered People band – a small group of kindred spirits who play music and create songs with refugees and people seeking asylum. Following their journeys, we observe how music breaks down barriers and gives Saha and Mas purpose, helping to shape their new identities in a new land/life and offering hope for the future. Including interviews and music from acclaimed musicians including Missy Higgins, John Butler, Michael Franti, Archie Roach, Katie Noonan, Dan Sultan, Harry James Angus, Robbie James (GANGgajang) and Baker Boy, Scattered People also explores how music can help unite, heal and restore our compassion for some of the most vulnerable people on our planet.