By Felicia Di Stefano


REFUGEE Week culminated in Refugee Day on Saturday, June 20.

The local refugee support group, South Gippsland Rural Australians for Refugees (SGRAR), celebrated the achievements and contributions – both social and economic – refugees make in their new homes.

SGRAR members spent a pleasant afternoon with the local community at the Wonthaggi Neighbourhood Centre at Mitchell House sharing stories of refugees’ courage, ingenuity, tenacity and the suffering many endure both before they leave their birth home, during their journeys to safety and often when they arrive at their destinations.

Wonthaggi has welcomed South Sudanese and Karen refugees who are now members of our community, work here, shop here, go to school here and are our friends.

We followed the stories with an award-winning film, ‘Mary Meets Mohammad’, which shows how attitudes to refugees changes once individuals meet with them, how detention of innocent people can destroy lives and how much misinformation there is about refugees.

The film also shows what a lifeline mobile phones are for refugees in detention when they can phone their families. Unfortunately, a bill has been proposed to remove mobile phones from people in detention.

If you would like to join SGRAR, please contact Felicia on