By Felicia Di Stefano, SGRAR

THE local refugee and asylum seeker support group, South Gippsland Rural Australians for Refugees (SGRAR), invites all to join in its celebrations of Refugee Week 2021.

The celebration is of the wealth of cultural, social and economic benefits refugees have brought to enhance Australian lives.

There are Karen and South Sudanese refugees in Wonthaggi who have become part of our community, are Australian citizens and our friends.

We have shared food, dances, stories and fun together. Nyadol Nyuon, whose family ran from the brutal 20-year war in South Sudan and was born in an Ethiopian refugee camp, is now a lawyer and human rights advocate.

Nyadol works as a commercial litigator in Melbourne and is often seen commentating in the media.

Anh Do, the artist from the TV program ‘Brush with Fame’ who escaped from Vietnam in a boat with his family, now brings joy into our living rooms. There are doctors, surgeons, lawyers, labourers, all manner of people that make up an interesting, rich society. All those people realise their good fortune to live in Australia and are very happy to work hard and give back.

We also need to mention those refugees who fled war zones like Afghanistan and Syria to reach what they thought to be a safe home for their families in Australia.

Sadly, some of them are still in on- and off-shore detention after eight years of hope and prayers. Can we be more compassionate and welcome those strangers into our midst?

To help celebrate the occasion, SGRAR will screen a newly minted film ‘The Scattered People’.

The film tells how music opens the heart and has the power to heal and connect cultures, featuring the story of Iranian asylum seekers Mas and Saha and how they joined the Scattered People – a group of musicians who found them.

They are joined by high-profile musicians who also believe in the power of music, including Archie Roach, John Butler, Missy Higgins, Gang Gajang, Katie Noonan, Michael Franti, Dan Sultan, Baker Boy and The Cat Empire.

Watch ‘The Scattered People’ this Sunday, June 27, at 2pm at the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre at 2pm. Tickets $10. Book at trybooking.com/BRPFB or buy tickets at the door.

Check out the trailer at scatteredpeoplefilm.org/film-summary.

To join SGRAR, email Felicia at sgrar07@gmail.com.