Big day out lifts spirits

The Kiama Welcomes Refugees (KWR) committee recently hosted a visit of 35 refugees from Papua New Guinea, the Middle East, Sri Lanka and Africa.

Under a bright blue sky, the refugees arrived at Coronation Park after a two-hour trip from Granville.

The venue was perfect, with plenty of room for the kids to play, shady trees to lounge under and a feast of Halal sausages, chicken, vegetarian dishes, salads, fruit platters and ice-cream. There was also lots of singing encouraged by the ukulele players bringing everyone together in harmony.

These refugees seek to have their needs met at The House of Welcome, Granville. It is part of  St Francis Social Services which welcomes, shelters and empowers people seeking asylum in Australia. It is the largest housing provider for transitional accommodation for asylum seekers and refugees in NSW.

The children loved going into the water and playing in the sand.

Amy Smith, case worker

Three case workers accompanied the refugees to the picnic. 

This is the second such day KWR has hosted in conjunction with House of Welcome. Amy Smith, one of the case workers, had this to say:

“Thanks again for such a wonderful day. We had a family who came to Kiama last year who said her children were counting down the days in the lead-up. It was such a beautiful day and the children loved going into the water and playing in the sand. Seeing families smiling and laughing with one another was very precious especially with the hardships they are facing. The food was delicious and the volunteers were so kind and generous.

“Thank you, Kiama, for welcoming House of Welcome to your town and being so kind and warm to people seeking asylum.”

KWR is a community organisation which wants to make a difference to the plight of refugees in Australia.

It was formed  three years ago with the help of Cr Kathy Rice, in response to Kiama becoming a Refugee Welcome Zone.

The day’s success was largely due to the funding of transportation costs by the Wollongong Catholic Diocese. KWR thanked Ms Debbie Gates, Director of Development and Community Engagement, who was instrumental in securing this funding and making the day a reality.

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