A time for healing: Refugee Week 2022

While most of the world ground to a halt under the closures, lockdowns and restrictions of the COVID pandemic, the misery and danger for refugees mounted unabated.

War, conflict, famine and disaster know no boundaries and combined with restrictions on movement amid the health crisis of the pandemic, the plight of refugees and asylum seekers has been magnified over the past two-and-a-half years.

The theme for Refugee Week this year is Healing”; a time for refugee and mainstream communities to pause, draw upon recent shared hardships, learn from one another, heal wounds and look ahead in a more positive and unified way.

Federation is a proud sponsor of Refugee Week, encouraging public schools and TAFE campuses to take part in raising awareness of the plight of the more than one million displaced people around the world.

The issue is never far away from the news in Australia, living as we do in a land of relative plenty, opportunity and freedom, compared with countries engulfed by strife or ruin.

Most recently, Australians have had a rare reason to rejoice with the resettlement of the Nadesalingam family in Biloela, a saga that has come to symbolise the plight of refugees in the Australian context; those held in detention limbo for years without a decision on their visa cases.

We have also received an influx of families fleeing the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces this year, while boats are beginning to arrive in Australian waters from Sri Lanka where long-running political unrest has again flared into deadly violence.

Refugee Week 2022 reminds us that everyone has the right to seek safety and we all have a responsibility to welcome and support those seeking our protection.

Federation recognises now is a time for healing.

Never has there been a more important time to reconnect with one another; whether that be with family and friends, or with students and broader school communities.

The Refugee Council of Australia’s teacher resource kit can be accessed here.

Schools and TAFE campuses can also:

  • book a face-to-face speaker, either in person or online. Personal stories are the most powerful way to build understanding and restore connections with each other
  • bring your school community together – students, teachers and families alike – and host a Refugee Week event online or in person
  • display Refugee Week posters at your school. The official poster for Refugee Week 2022 is available here.

For more information on Refugee Week, booking speakers and accessing events, visit www.refugeeweek.org.au.

Other useful teacher and classroom resources for promoting diversity and supporting anti-racism education can be found at:

Plan how your school or campus will celebrate and share your highlights by posting pics and tagging @teachersfed @OzRefugeeCounc #refugeeweekau.

For more information visit www.refugeeweek.org.au.