The City of Ballarat has marked National Refugee Week 2021 with a flag raising ceremony in Queen Victoria Square.
National Refugee Week celebrates and acknowledges the contributions of refugees and provides opportunity for people to learn about the experiences of people escaping oppression and seeking asylum.
The Refugee Council of Australia has chosen Unity: The Way Forward as the theme for Refugee Week 2021 with the aim of raising awareness of the issues affecting refugees, to promote harmony and togetherness and to broaden and promote the impact of Refugee Week in Australia.
Guest speaker, Joy Sawiche, Chairperson, Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council and member of It Takes Courage, Unstoppable Women and an Equality for All advocate through Women’s Health Grampians, spoke of the need for empathy and connection to people for refugees and asylum seekers.
Originally from Kenya and arriving in Australia with her family in 2004, Joy assisted many mothers and migrant families manoeuvring through Australia’s Health Care System and in 2013 was nominated a for a Victorian Multicultural Award for Excellence for Service Delivery for Multicultural Victoria in Health and Community Services.
Cr Belinda Coates said Ballarat was a better place for the diversity that refugees and asylum seekers bring to our community.
A full program of Refugee Week events can be found on the BRMC website