Women Seeking Asylum Attend JRS Health and Pamper Day

Women have their nails painted at the JRS Pamper Day. Photo: JRS

Women have their nails painted at the JRS Pamper Day. Photo: JRS

“‘When we first came to Australia, life was very difficult, and we tended to get depressed,’ said one woman. ‘But now we’ve made friends and there are things like this to come to, it definitely helps to make life better.’”

A cold, stormy morning in the middle of winter created the perfect conditions for women seeking asylum to take a break, and focus on their own care and relaxation at the second JRS women’s health and pamper day.

Around 20 women gathered together at Arrupe Place to share cups of tea and conversation before kicking off the day’s activities with a laughter yoga session. They were then treated to a range of facial treatments, massages, manicures and flower arrangement lessons—luxuries far removed from the way these women would usually spend their days.

‘When we first came to Australia, life was very difficult, and we tended to get depressed,’ said one woman. ‘But now we’ve made friends and there are things like this to come to, it definitely helps to make life better.’

While these women may have escaped the persecution in their home countries and the horrors of offshore processing, they are still subject to policies and practices that make them and their families extremely vulnerable in the Australian community.

Yet, despite the adversities they face, these women remain strong and resilient, determined to provide a safer and better life for their families and themselves.

‘What touched me the most was that you can see how incredibly busy, difficult and stressful the women’s lives are just by looking at their hands and nails,’ said Angela Gallard, a JRS case worker. ‘It was obvious the women did not have the time, money, energy or space for someone else to treat them to something as simple as a manicure.’

JRS pamper days are an opportunity for us to provide a much-needed day off for these incredible and inspiring women. It’s a day, not only to relax and laugh together, but to make them feel welcome in their new community.

‘Today was really fun. It’s made me feel very happy,’ one woman said as she left for the day.

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