Refugee Week is Australia’s peak annual activity to inform the public about issues faced by refugees, to celebrate their positive contributions to Australian society, and to promote harmony and togetherness. This year, it will be held from Sunday 15 June to Saturday 21 June, to include World Refugee Day on the 20th of June. The Refugee Council of Australia chose ‘’Restoring Hope’’ as the theme for the Week for 2012 to 2014. The theme serves as a reminder that while a refugee’s journey begins with danger, it also begins with hope. Refugees hope to be given a new start to life, safety and security for their families, and the opportunity to recover from past trauma.
Yarrie Bangura was born in Sierra Leone, and fled civil war there, ending up in a refugee camp in Guinea. She came to Australia with her family in 2004. In Australia, Yarrie learnt to read and write, and is now at university. She discovered a love for words, and uses them to heal herself. “Through my writing, I can express my thoughts and feelings, my story, and the story of those past and present. I try to give a voice to those who have none,” she says. Yarrie writes at the Sydney Writing Factory, and through them, has been approached by publishers Random House to work on a book of poetry and prose that talks about her life experiences.
Last year, she proudly presented the keynote speech for Refugee Week, which she explains ‘’acknowledges refugees, welcomes us, and senses our pain. It is a reflection of how far we have come and what we have achieved.’’ Yarrie also loves singing and performing, and is grateful that coming to Australia has given her the chance to ‘’sing another song compared to the old one; here, I have found my own tune and song.’’