For years many countries have been holding their own variation of Refugee Day. In Australia – the country that prides itself with its cultural diversity and tolerance, World Refugee Day has been celebrated since 1986 on June 20th. World Refugee Day is part of the Refugee Week events. Each year, the Refugee Week marks series of events aimed to promote acceptance and public awareness towards emigrants and their positive contributions for the country.
Aims of Refugee Week:
Over the past 15 years, the number of states who organise World Refugee Week in their territory has significantly increased. Although there are slight differences in the dates the week includes worldwide, everyone has shook hands on one thing – they all include June 20th the World Refugee Day. There are numerous events that encourage cross-cultural interaction. The main purposes for organizing the event are:
- to raise awareness of the individuals who have fled to Australia and the reasons behind their choice;
- to explain the challenges emigrants face when coming to Australia;
- to honour the contribution refugees make for our country;
- to help create a safe, welcoming environment for asylum seekers, refugees and displaced people not only here but all over the world;
- to stimulate equality regardless of the nationality;
There are many, many ways to mark the importance of the rich cultural diversity of the emigrant communities with lots of music, dancing, plays, film viewings and other public events. This is also the place where I feel obliged to remind you that Refugee Day and Week aren’t the only holidays that endorse cross-cultural interaction and acceptance. Numerous festivals and happenings in Australia carry the same message: Harmony Day and Emerge Festival are amongst the most famous of them.
Theme of Refugee Week 2013
As every major event, Refugee Day has a theme which is set to direct public attention towards specific problems related to refugees and asylum seekers. It highlights various aspects of the life emigrants lead and the challenges they face both here and in their home countries. Mainly the theme aims to educate people what it is like to be a refugee.
For the period of 2012 – 2014, the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) has picked the theme “Raising Hope”. It is a beautiful reminder that while the journey of an emigrant begins with danger it also contains that precious sparkle of hope – hope for a better future, hope for a peaceful life, hope for acceptance, hope for freedom and naturally, hope for a happier life. Simultaneously, it calls attention to the important role Australia and other countries that offer a safe haven for refugees play. Such states give the opportunity to outcasts to rebuild their lives and start anew sans the fear of prosecution and violence.
The team of Fantastic Cleaners Melbourne will also be joining the events in the city that highlight the Refugee Day and Refugee Week in Australia. Our pick of events to be attended are:
- Refugee Review of Tribunal Open Day (Monday, 17th)
- Peace Palette Presents “War Witch” (Wednesday, 19th )
- Sharing of Stories and Morning Tea (Wednesday, 19th) at Altona Meadows
- All in Program Art Exhibition (Wednesday, 19th ) at Geelong
- Stories of the World – a short film by young refugees (Thursday, 20th ), at Broadmeadows
- Restoring Hope – A Refugee Week Performance (Thursday, 20th )