Friday, June 05, 2009

Armidale Sanctuary - a refugee success story

Just a little story tonight with a positive message drawn from a story in the Armidale Express.

Six years ago a group in Armidale, my home town, established a new organisations simply called Armidale Sanctuary. Its aim was to help new refugees settle into Australia.

We are not talking big stuff here, simply targeted action at a local level.

In the six years since, Armidale Sanctuary has welcomed nine groups totaling almost 50 people. The group's work is supported by local church and community organisations as well as State and federal agencies. 

The new arrivals are not expected to stay in Armidale. The aim is to support them until they have the confidence to venture further afield.

New arrivals at Sydney Airport are met by Narcisse Badhere from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who came to Armidale as part of the program but is now working in Sydney and is happy to meet new arrivals on behalf of Armidale Sanctuary. At Armidale Airport arrivals are met by Sanctuary members including those presently being helped.

A small story I know, but this is local individual action. It creates an individual and community structure whose paybacks may be small in national terms but are high for the individuals concerned. This is family.

I wish new Sanctuary president Helen Ware every success in her work.

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