Yarra celebrates Refugee Week 2022
Thursday 23 June 2022
Each year we recognise and celebrate the important and positive contributions refugees make to our community in Yarra, while raising awareness about issues refugees also face. We value and are committed to promoting cultural, linguistic and religious diversity, community harmony and respect for all.
In the 1980s in South Vietnam, Nhung left her home with her two brothers to make the perilous journey to Australia by boat, after some in her family, including her father, had been killed.
“We left everything behind in Vietnam, our land, our house, our possessions, our community. I chose freedom.”
Prior to reaching Australia, Nhung stayed in two notoriously unsafe refugee camps in Malaysia for several months. When she arrived in Australia, Nhung said she felt “happy and safe”.
Nhung and her brothers were later joined by their four sisters. While it took ten years for them to reunite with their older sister, today Nhung’s family is finally altogether.
“Our family has grown to include 6 nieces and 3 nephews. I am very proud of my family. We’ve built a new life in Australia – we have homes, we have jobs, we’ve got everything here”, says Nhung.
Nhung still feels homesick when she thinks about her friends and family back in Vietnam. But being an active and important member of the Yarra community helps.
“I head up the Vietnamese Women’s Cultural Group at Collingwood Neighbourhood House. We get together and do exercise, have lunch and talk about our families and share our stories,” says Nhung.
Nhung has had the opportunity to visit countries across the globe, but Australia remains her favourite. She says, “I want say thank you to Australia”.
Yarra has a long and proud history of advocating for people seeing asylum including successfully calling for the recent release of asylum seekers living in the Park Hotel in Carlton. Yarra has been a Refugee Welcome Zone since 2002.
Yarra is one of 37 councils across Australia, who is part of the Local Government Mayoral Taskforce Supporting People Seeking Asylum.
Since 2018, the Taskforce has been leading the Back Your Neighbour Campaign which advocates for a fairer and swifter Refugee Status Determination system and calls on local communities to support their neighbours, friends and colleagues.
Find out more about the Back your Neighbour Campaign.