Reaching out to refugees in detention

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3 May 2017

In March, Year 11 and 12 students from Mount Lilydale Mercy College visited the Broadmeadows Detention Centre (Melbourne Immigration Transit Mount Lilydale Mercy College community at a Palm Sunday Justice for Refugees RallyAccommodation (MITA)) where 100 asylum seekers are currently detained. The excursion is part of the College’s Social Justice program associated with the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Advocacy Group which was started last year to spread awareness and understanding of the issues people seeking asylum face in Australia.

The students hope to visit the Detention Centre on a fortnightly basis with a group of 4–6 students in Year 11 and 12, providing students with a valuable opportunity to interact with asylum seekers from various parts of the world and hear first-hand experiences and stories without the filter of media bias. In return students act upon to the Mercy ethos of the College and provide asylum seekers with hope and compassion, and an opportunity for their stories to be heard.

Chloe Falla (Year 12) said, ‘I must say that the visit to MITA was a very eye-opening, touching, empowering and at the same time, a heart-breaking experience. This was my second visit to the Detention Centre and I find it hard to put my experience into words. I spoke to a variety of people, both men and women who are being detained, and it really dawned on me, halfway through a conversation with a particular gentleman, that these people in detention are EXACTLY like us.

‘They love sport, their families, they love to travel, have an education and are very articulate and compassionate people. I would encourage other students to learn about these amazing people and help break the stigma!’

Each year staff, students and parents also represent the community of Mount Lilydale Mercy College at the Palm Sunday walk for Justice for Refugees.