A place of welcome and hospitality

Arrupe Place Community Centre in Parramatta. Photo: JRS

Arrupe Place Community Centre in Parramatta. Photo: JRS

“Despite meagre government assistance, ongoing discrimination because of their temporary status, and the weight of Australia’s unjust deterrence regime, they commit to learning English, finding employment, and defying the xenophobic comments by contributing significantly to society rather than burdening it.”

 

Arrupe Place Community Centre, JRS’ second drop-in centre in Western Sydney, is providing new opportunities for asylum seekers living in the area – many of whom have been waiting between two and four years to have their claims for protection assessed.

One such programme, a fortnightly craft group, is being run by two Iranian sisters who have a natural flair for all things artistic. Their group provides a valuable opportunity for conversation and the learning of new skills, and is a necessary distraction from the difficulties of life as an asylum seeker.

The people who access these programmes continue to show incredible resilience against all odds. Despite meagre government assistance, ongoing discrimination because of their temporary status, and the weight of Australia’s unjust deterrence regime, they commit to learning English, finding employment, and defying the xenophobic comments by contributing significantly to society rather than burdening it.

Places of welcome and mutual learning like Arrupe Place are essential in the effort to provide an alternative vision to offshore processing and punitive deterrence policies. They highlight what the Australian community can gain from welcoming refugees – and encourage policies that will reflect this longstanding tradition of welcome and hospitality.

 

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