Abdul Aziz, Refugee Week 2020 Global Ambassador
Abdul Aziz, Refugee Week 2020 global ambassador

Refugee Week, Day 7: World Refugee Day

Today is the final day of Refugee Week, and World Refugee Day.  It’s an important day to stand in solidarity with over 1% of the population who find themselves displaced, according to this year’s Global Trends Report, released earlier this week.

People like Aziz, whose story you may remember. Aziz was forced to flee his home country of Sudan in 2013. He was imprisoned on Manus Island by the Australian Government, where he spent over 6 years before finally making it to freedom in Geneva.

Aziz is one of our global Refugee Week ambassadors, and you can see his story in his own words -and many others – here.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this year’s Refugee Week, which was a little different given the circumstances.  Here’s a recap of what we’ve been up to and where you can find anything you missed:

  • On Sunday, we officially launched Refugee Week in partnership with The Wheeler Centre, with a thought-provoking discussion between First Nations and refugee community members about the meaning of “welcome”. You can still watch it here.
  • Day 2 of Refugee Week brought us an evening of spoken word poetry, with people all around the country performing their original material. If you missed out, fear not – it’s available here.
  • Tuesday saw the launch of our first ever e-cookbook, a collection of recipes and stories provided by Australia’s refugee community members. You can purchase the cookbook here and sign up here to share a meal and a story with your friends and family, raising money for a good cause while you’re at it. We’ve also been working with SBS Food to bring some of these recipes to life in a series of videos to help you cook along at home.
  • On Wednesday, we brought you a special forum about women in the COVID-19 crisis, together with event partner Settlement Services International (SSI) and the Harmony Alliance.  Later that evening, we were joined by four storytellers from around the world who shared stories from their own lives for our first ever international Refugee Week event.  If you missed it, you can still catch it here.
  • Thursday was another action-packed day, featuring two official events; the Foundations for Belonging forum, and a one-off conversation between UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Cate Blanchett AC, Australia for UNHCR Special Representative Marta Dusseldorp and Western Sydney community leader Mayor Chagai.
  • On Friday, day 6 of Refugee Week, STARTTS hosted their annual NSW Humanitarian Awards, and hundreds of you joined us to watch incredible documentary For Sama.  If you, like us, were moved by this family’s story, check out Action For Sama to find out what you can do next.
  • Today, to mark World Refugee Day, we’re prioritising the voices of people with first-hand refugee experience.  We’ll be sharing their videos and stories across our platforms and encourage you to do the same.

Of course, these are just the events that we organised or supported.  Hundreds more took place around the country, including dinners, festivals, talks, conferences, screenings, competitions and more. We’re proud of the Australian community, who showed that a global pandemic wasn’t enough to get in the way of celebrating the people in our community who have come here seeking safety.

If you’re wondering what’s next, keep your eye on our #NobodyLeftBehind campaign, where we’re holding the Government to account for leaving a million people out in the cold in their COVID-19 response.

Thanks Australia, and until next year!