Refugee Week is one of the highlights of the year for SCARF. It’s a chance to showcase what we see everyday – the strength, resilience and contribution of people from refugee background. It’s also an opportunity to shed light on the challenges of the refugee experience, and discuss how we can best support people through these as a community.
This year, various agencies in the Illawarra hosted an impressive array of events in recognition of Refugee Week. There was the Illawarra refugee challenge community night, the IMS Community Dinner and Scavenger Hunt and Find Your Family event held by the Red Cross, amongst others.
SCARF held two events for Refugee Week 2016: ‘A Celebration of Harmony’ at Forager’s Markets, a showcase of local talent and celebration of culture, and a Winter Warmer Morning Tea Event, held during our weekly coffee and conversation, where we gave away donated blankets and quilts.
We were pretty chuffed with how these events went, and were heartened to see other successful Refugee Week events held in the community. But these events don’t organise themselves – there’s almost always a whole bunch of generous, talented and hard-working people working behind-the-scenes (and performing on stage!) to make it all happen. In the case of SCARF’s events, we certainly know this was the case!
Here’s how our SCARF’s Refugee Week events went down, and how support from the SCARF community and beyond ensured they could happen. If you run into any of the legends mentioned below, be sure to thank them from us!
Winter Warmer Giveaway:
Our Winter Warmer’s morning tea during our weekly Coffee Conversations on Wed 22nd June. Thanks to the kind support and wonderful donations of blankets and quilts from The Illawarra Quilters, the Nowra Quilting Mouse, and Kiama Welcomes Refugees (KWR), we were able to give away warm winter bedding to SCARF families originally from Myanmar, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, iraq, Togo and Congo. A huge thanks is owed to Adnan, who baked delicious Syrian shortbread biscuits for us to share.
‘A Celebration of Harmony’ At Forager’s Markets
Our Refugee Week event at Forager’s was intended to be a celebration of the cultures of our diverse community – and thanks to talented performers and many, many helping hands – it did just that! We also managed to raise over $2800 to support SCARF’s community-based programs and services for people from refugee backgrounds.
Our talented performers wowed market-goers at the outside stage, while SCARF volunteers ran an information stall and raffle inside, collected gold coin donations in exchange for delicious Syrian Sweets – once again prepared by Adnan.
The day began with SCARF Patron, Lord Mayor Gordan Bradbury, giving a welcome address to the Forager’s crowd. Thanks Gordan! A big thank you is owed to our talented performers, who shone on the day and brilliantly showcased the diverse talent the Illawarra has to offer. We’re grateful for the performances of Big Erle, Arlin, Elemental Grooves, Victor Steele**, House of Maqam, Sako Dermenjian, Karenni dance group and Chin dance group.
** Fans of Victor Steele will be happy to know that you can download his album for free on his website!