Australia

Australia’s Refugee Crisis

Sarah Cirelli is a student at the University of Tampa and an ISA Photo Blogger. She is currently studying with ISA in Sydney, Australia.

As the world works to resolve a major international refugee crisis, Australia puts up a front. As a bystander, I’ve witnessed people turned away from public places for no reason other than their religious affiliation and appearances.

Refugees are granted a visa anywhere from three months to a year before they have to apply to the government to extend their stay. Families are left uneasy since they don’t know whether or not they will be able to remain in Australia or if they will be deported back to their home countries.

During my time abroad, I was lucky enough to volunteer with ISA in Sydney with a few refugee families. Our mission was to talk to the families and make them feel welcome in Australia despite any inimical encounters they may have had.

Here are a few of my fellow international students who volunteered with the refugees.

Here are a few of my fellow international students who volunteered with the refugees.

Many pictures taken throughout the day weren’t of the families themselves due to the respect of their privacy and protection from their governments.  A group of ISA students and I brought food for the refugees, and we sat and talked to them about their hobbies and lifestyle which including things like crocheting.

Here is a portion of the food we laid out for people to stop by and eat.

Here is a portion of the food we laid out for people to stop by and eat.

We also spent the day face painting children, having an egg toss, blowing bubbles, painting nails, and teaching the women how to make string bracelets. Overall, the day was a rewarding opportunity to give back to the community we are staying in as well as get a deeper understanding of the controversial discussions of refugees throughout Australia.

Here are some of the face painting and bracelet making activities the ISA students and refugees participated in.

Here are some of the face painting and bracelet making activities the ISA students and refugees participated in.

The world awaits…discover it.

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