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RE-cycled: Refugee Awareness Raiser

31 January 2017

This year, Red Bend Catholic College raised awareness about the services offered by Mercy Care and Marist Youth Care, in particular, the assistance of Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors (Refugees). Along with speaking about this issue at the College Assembly, Liturgy Captains Nathan Fisher & Rosie Yapp, led a very successful sleepover to simulate some conditions experienced in refugee camps.

Twelve dedicated senior students gathered on Friday, 18 November 2016 for prayers of hope and action. Students decided to put away electronic devices and consume only water for twelve hours. They started with a special liturgy led by Rosie, Nathan and Father Simon. Students sat in an area equivalent to a refugee boat. Local Parish Priest, Father Simon reflected that our group, although small, are very strong, as were the twelve disciples. They were able to bring a sense of hope like no other. McAuley House Coordinator, Mrs McDean, shared a story about practical ways Australians can assist in welcoming refugees and providing them with care. 

Chisholm House Coordinator, Mr Pearce, spoke about the importance of listening to people in our world and asking questions instead of passing judgement. He reflected on how Syrian refugees just want to live in a community of peace. He challenged us to find ways to offer more than this. Perhaps welcome all by offering education and employment. He ended with “making a difference starts with you asking questions; Why? What if? How? Start by asking people in your life….what is your story? Simply listen.” 

Afterwards, all participants wrote Hope Cards to those who may be struggling on their journey in finding refuge. These cards will be given to young unaccompanied minors who may use the services of Mercy Care and Marist Youth Care. 

Thoughts from the Liturgy Captains:

To say that I was ‘giving up’ my Friday night for a refugee awareness night would be completely incorrect, in the respect that I found to do otherwise would mean ‘giving up’ the opportunity to be a part of the start of something brilliant in our Red Bend community. This being the awareness and encouraged action towards assisting those who are looked upon so controversially in our society, and inspiring an attitude of acceptable intrigue, rather than prejudiced opinion, which is vital in the movement to eradicate ignorance as the cause of unjust conduct. I am very grateful for this experience. 

- Rosie Yapp – McAuley Liturgy Captain

It was a great night to think about the things we take for granted and what refugees do not get to experience. As a school community and Father Simon, the night started off with a liturgy which gave us the time to reflect on those who are fleeing from war-torn countries. We also had the time to write some Hope Cards, with a little prayer or drawing. Overall, the night was successful and allowed us to challenge ourselves, giving up our devices and food was hard enough. We had the time to share some stories about other refugees which reminded us why we were at the refugee challenge. Thank you all who attended.

- Nathan Fisher – Chisholm Liturgy Captain


Republished with permission of Matthew Pearce, the Chisholm on Fire Coordinator at Red Bend Catholic College.


Topic tags: catholicsocialteaching, socialjustice–australia, refugees, socialjustice–global

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