The Pledge to Asylum Seekers

Stories

Where has the Pledge gone? What impact has it had so far?

Stories will be added here as they come in – please send yours!

Each small step will take us closer to changing the way the system currently operates, and by collecting as many stories here as possible here, we can exponentially increase the  momentum towards that change.


 

ywc-pledger_1 The Young Christian Workers (YCW) are very involved in the asylum seeker and refugee issue. Some of the actions they are currently undertaking include:

  • Hosting Asylum Seeker & Refugee awareness nights every fortnight at their Melbourne office. These nights include a dinner and discussion about the actions we can take as a community to support those seeking asylum and they invite guest speakers to talk about their experiences as an asylum seeker.
  • They have an online blog which touches on the topic of asylum seekers and they encourage opinions and awareness for change.
  • They are also entering a team in this years ‘Run 4 Refugees’ in Melbourne on October 12!

They’ve also been very supportive of the Pledge, uploading pictures of members signing the Pledge on twitter, facebook, and instagram and spreading the word! You can see their photos in the montage on the Pledgers page as well.

“The pledge has inspired us to get this awareness out there and to continue supporting those wonderful causes who make it their mission to support our refugees and to stop the injustices against them. All the very best, and keep up the wonderful work!”


 

Grade 2/3 students at Mount Barker South Primary School have explored the Pledge, and what it means to be an asylum seeker or a refugee.

mt-barker-sth-ps-displayFrom their teacher:

My year 2/3 class were fascinated with the lesson. It’s not often that they are completely silent but they all sat wide eyed with interest. Prior to the lesson, not a single student of 29 had any idea what the term ‘refugee’ meant but several recognised ‘boat people’….

They are eager to learn more and have already enthusiastically shared their learning with the rest of our school at our last assembly.

For the presentation you see in the photo, they were asked to think about an activity they enjoy doing then imagine how happy it makes them feel to have the freedom to do it in our country. From that they drew their activity, as visualised in their mind’s eye, and invited a refugee to enjoy the activity with them.


 

Not related to the Pledge, but this article talks about refuges who have gone on to become some of our greatest entrepreneurs. Ahn Do is one of those mentioned; have a look at his book, The Happiest Refugee, describing what it was like to be an asylum seeker travelling to Australia by boat. He’s also released a beautiful children’s book, The Little Refugee, on the same theme.


 

pledger5-2014-07-12Linda and her husband Wes from the Combined Refugee Action Group are already active in assisting asylum seekers and refugees, but still loved the idea of signing the Pledge.

The Pledge really affirmed everything I have already committed to: lobbying politicians, writing letters and articles to the local papers, encouraging others to do the same, being involved in an action group, using my blog and Facebook for public education, supporting services financially, and befriending individual asylum seeker to make their lives in limbo just a little bit more bearable. We have to take whatever action we can. Every little bit helps.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” Ryunosuke Satoro


 

Kent is distributing the Pledge amongst the South Australian Police (SAPOL), and to his fellow 10/27 Army Reserve Infantry Battalion Unit and 7th Royal Australian  Regiment colleagues.

As a member of the Police operating in a multicultural area I have exposure to and deal with refugees within our community on a daily basis. As a soldier I served as a rifleman on the front line of operations in Afghanistan. I deployed to Afghanistan multiple times where the long conflict against the Taliban forced many from their homes. I am well aware that this is just one of many conflict areas in the world that refugees are coming from.

I am committed to helping those who seek asylum and educating both the refugees and the public.

I think the pledge is a fantastic idea. It’s proactive attitudes like yours we need to inject into all areas of our community.

Well done and thank you.

 


 

Sue* is a member of a group who visit asylum seekers in detention to offer them friendship, support and hope.

I made copies of the pledge and took it to a group of people who visit asylum seekers in a nearby detention centre. Some of us gather each week to review how things are going for the people we visit; we to talk about what kind of assistance may be needed, whether there are new people we individually may have met, or knowledge we may have gained about people being sent to other detention centres, including Manus and Nauru. At the end of our meeting last week we read through the Pledge at the end as a reflection and as our prayer of remembrance for the asylum seekers who are part of our lives.

Last night when I visited the detention centre, I decided to show the pledge to two families and explained what it was about. I, and two others who were there with me, then signed it and gave it to these people who were frightened and depressed that they have been told they are going to be moved to a more remote detention centre. Their faces were so filled with deep gratitude when we read the words “You are welcome here”.

Thank you so much for making the pledge available to us and for putting words around our thoughts and feelings.

* Sue is a real person, but this is not her real name. Her identity was kept anonymous so that her ability to visit asylum seekers in detention is not jeopardised. She is not, however, the only person who has shared the Pledge with people in detention and I thank them all for taking on the Pledge in such a personal way.


 

pledger_rachelbrindalRachel is part of the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN). Check out their Facebook page.

We’ve put the Pledge on our Facebook page and take printed copies to the weekly Nightcliff market stall for people to read, take and sign. DASSAN also visit asylum seekers in local detention centres, bringing them friendship and contact with the outside world.

Thank you for creating a powerful piece of prose and sharing it with the wider community!

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