An Afternoon of Music, organised by a group representing Rural Australians for Refugees, Amnesty, and St Bede’s Social Justice, working under the umbrella name of Braidwood for Refugees, was held last Sunday to raise money for refugee support.
Music was provided by Indigenous singers ‘The Stiff Gins’ and ‘Freshwater’, Keith Potger, and the Braidwood Cantors, all of whom generously donated their time and talents.
Speakers included Canberra-based refugee advocate, Sister Jane Keogh, who spoke about Australia’s refugee policies, and Abbas, a Hazara former UN translator from Afghanistan, who described his long journey to refugee status in Australia.
Sister Keogh also spoke on behalf of an Iranian refugee who risked his life to come to Australia after torture in Iran and a period of solitary confinement at the centre at Woomera. The inventor of an agricultural pest control device, he now lives and works in Canberra.
Amnesty International was represented by Bede Carmody, Community Organiser, and Shankar Kasynathan, Refugee Campaign Co-Ordinator. Shankar also spoke of his journey to Australia as a Tamil refugee.
Amnesty generously paid for the printing of our publicity materials and the hire of the National Theatre. Available in the theatre were books on refugees, including Jackie French’s books for children, and Amnesty pamphlets and petitions.
Over $2000 was raised by the event, to be used directly to support refugees.
A spokesperson for the group said that support for refugees is only one of the concerns of the Braidwood branches of Amnesty International and St Bede’s Social Justice Group. Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR), however, focuses specifically on issues concerning refugees and asylum seekers.
Braidwood for Refugees brings together anyone in the Braidwood region wanting to work to help refugees and asylum seekers. The Afternoon of Music showed the benefits of combining forces to produce a shared event.