Georges River Council celebrates “Finding Freedom” in Refugee Week 2023

Georges River Council

Georges River Council celebrates Refugee Week 2023 by hearing the remarkable story of an Ambassador of the Refugee Council of Australia, Shahri Rafi. Shahri Rafi will speak on this year’s theme of “Finding Freedom” at Hurstville Library on Thursday 22 June 2023 and is eager to take questions from the audience, particularly about how community members can support their neighbours who are seeking asylum or who have refugee status.

Refugee Week is Australia’s peak annual activity to promote greater awareness of refugees, the issues they face, and the contributions they make to the Australian community. It provides a unique opportunity to celebrate the wonderful ways in which our communities are enriched by people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds. Refugee Week is a chance for ordinary people to welcome, thank and celebrate their neighbours who have come seeking safety.

Each year, Refugee Week chooses a theme to highlight aspects of the refugee experience. This year’s theme is ‘Finding Freedom’ which aims to explore what it means to be free and why millions of people across the world embark on dangerous journeys to find safety and freedom.

Shahri Rafi will share her family’s story from being internally displaced to different provinces in Afghanistan during the Afghan Civil War, their migration to Pakistan, and their return to Afghanistan after the collapse of the Taliban regime in 2002, longing for peace and security.

Shahri completed an undergraduate degree in Law and Political Science from Kabul University in 2018 and was granted a scholarship from the University of Technology, Sydney to complete her Master’s. After completing her studies, Shahri returned to Afghanistan to participate in the country’s reconstruction process and worked for a law firm in Kabul. However, due to the security crisis after the international’s troops’ early withdrawal in 2014, Shahri returned to Sydney and sought refugee protection.

Mayor Nick Katris said, “Council is excited to hear from Shahri and is grateful she is sharing her experience with us.’

“Everyone in the community can learn from her resilience. Celebrating Refugee Week is important as it gives us the opportunity to listen and learn from those in our community who have been through similar experiences to Shahri.

“It is important to understand where others have come from and learn how we can support refugees within our Georges River community. I am proud that Georges River is an official Refugee Welcome Zone, it is an important part of our community and the strength we have, together.”

Event: Refugee Week 2023: Finding Freedom with Shahri Rafi

Time: 12.30pm-1.30pm

Location: Hurstville Library

Cost: Free, Bookings essential via Council’s What’s On page.

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