Friday, June 19, 2009
There are no universities in refugee camps
The photographs taken yesterday are of recent refugees who have settled in Geelong, and one of our guest speakers, a young Karen woman with Veema an intercultural worker.
Today is World Refugee Day and yesterday I attended the launch of the local Interfaith Network launch of their website. One of the speakers was a young woman from the Karen people originally from Burma. She told us that she lived in a refugee camp in Thailand for twenty years! Although there were schools, she said 'There are no universities in refugee camps' and how wonderful it was for her to now live in Geelong and be able to do tertiary studies. Many Karen people have recently settled in our city after arriving as refugees.
We certainly do not know how the other half live.
Even in Fiji where there are many people under stress, at least there is education at many levels available for young people.
Peceli and I have associated with Diversitat (Geelong Migrant Centre) and intercultural programs over many years. Peceli represents the Fijian and Pacific Islander community here. It IS the way to go and is so different from the imposition of one brand of religion without respect for others! The Network here includes a variety of Christians, Hindu, Muslim Buddhist, Baha'i, Quakers, Sikh and others.