Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Smiles amid sorrow

sadviser July 12, 2011

WHAT  FREEDOM MEANS… From left- Afghani refugees 17-year-old Sayeda Haigari and 14-year-old Nasiba Mohammadi illustrated what freedom in Australia means to them at Maude Street Mall Refugee Week celebrations last week.  Photo: Alicia Zeqir.Refugee realities bring home reason for event

By Nadia Surace
THE night before last Wednesday’s Refugee Week celebrations, 14-year-old Afghani refugee, Nasiba Mohammadi lost her uncle back home. He’d been shot dead by the Taliban. They shot him 40 times.
Nasiba’s story is a reminder of why she came to Australia.
She wanted to celebrate their escape from the tragedies of war- “blasting, killing and shooting,” to her safe new home, Shepparton.
The Maude Street Mall event attracted crowds to see and taste food and entertainment from refugee national groups of the region and learn about how the wider community can make them feel more welcome.
Their advice- “Hello with a smile”.
City of Greater Shepparton Mayor, Geoff Dobson said the event provided a platform where positive images of refugees could be promoted in order to create a culture of welcome throughout the country.
“The ultimate aim of the celebration is to create better understanding between different communities and to encourage successful integration enabling refugees to live in safety and to continue making a valuable contribution to Australia,” Cr Dobson said.
On a banner entitled ‘Freedom’, refugees in attendance wrote and illustrated what freedom in Australia means for them.
Words penned included: ‘Going to school’, ‘No Taliban’, ‘Acceptance’ and simply, ‘Having a girls night’.