9 Things We Learnt from ‘Stories About Hope’

At Road to Refuge, we were very fortunate to work with Tina & Renee Dixson to bring their project ‘Stories About Hope’ to Melbourne and Sydney. Through this project, we were able to share the stories that have long been silenced or ignored in the nationwide debate – and take a new frame to people from refugee backgrounds that recognises their inherit strength, courage and resilience.

With the help of those involved in this collaboration, we discovered some of the crucial ways to address this issue. Here are 9 ways that you can improve your messaging and ensure that it is ethical, representative and supportive.

  1. Ensure that you are always providing a platform to share lived experience. At the heart of every successful social movement have been leaders directly affected leading the way. All of us in the refugee rights movement needs to do more in lifting the stories, voices and perspectives of people from refugee backgrounds.
  2. Always ensure that your messaging focuses on the ‘person’/’people’ within your narrative. Do this through using language such as ‘people seeking asylum’, etc.
  3. Lead with a values focus and approach conversations calmly.
  4. Realise that no one is entitled to share their story just because Australians want to educate themselves. This requires a lot of emotional labour and bravery. Never force those of experience to share their trauma for the sake of your advocacy.
  5. Use your individual platform/s to create awareness against the stigma that’s upheld in the mainstream discourse about people seeking asylum and refugees.
  6. Ensure that your efforts are systemic and strategic with the bigger picture, and not focused on sole individuals, but beneficial for any and all who face discrimination at the hands of our government.
  7. People from refugee backgrounds achieve success and have positive narratives which are often hidden or taken away from them by the mainstream media. Let them shape the stories they wish to share. Ensure that the people presented are done so with dignity. Don’t force the stories to fit your own narrative or victimise people who have sought asylum.
  8. Never talk over lived experience. Create a platform for those who wish to share their story, or those who respond to your narrative with experience.
  9. Recognise the diversity in all narratives of experience. There is no one way to be a person from a refugee background or a person who has sought asylum.

We feel very privileged to have worked with such a distinguished crew and impart this knowledge through the beliefs held by people of experience. We’d like to thank you all for your participation and we are looking forward to putting this into action together.

Thank you all,

Road to Refuge Team :) x

9 Things We Learnt from ‘Stories About Hope’

We’re hiring

We’re hiring!

Road to Refuge is a community organisation standing for the human rights of people seeking asylum. Our mission is to re-centre the refugee narrative towards lived experience with respect and dignity. And give a platform to the untold stories of the strength, resilience and hope, of Australia’s refugee community.

We’re looking for a new Treasurer to join our Committee and a Web Designer to help us out with an upcoming brand refresh.

Applications close September 20th at midnight, so get in quick!

P.s. If these roles don’t quite fit and you’re keen to get involved, drop us a line at info@roadtorefuge.com — we’re always on the lookout for more people to join the Road to Refuge community

Road to Refuge Web Designer PD

Road to Refuge Treasurer PD

We’re hiring

Road to Refuge coffee cups return to share the untold stories of hope in Australia’s refugee community for Refugee Week

Road to Refuge is partnering with cafes across Melbourne to encourage customers to consider the perspectives, voices and lived experiences of refugees when they purchase a coffee.

From the 19th June to 25th June, customers across Melbourne will find that their local café will be sharing Layla’s story of struggle and courage on their coffee cup for the Coffee Cup Project. While Layla is fictional, her story is more common than Australians think.

This year though, the cups are back with a different message.

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“You never hear the stories about the dignity and strength of people seeking asylum in the refugee debate,” says Road to Refuge Director Sam Butcher.

“Our coffee cups are kickstarters for deeper engagement with Australia’s treatment of refugees, regardless of how you vote at the ballot box,” says Coffee Cup Project Co-ordinator Alexandra Chlebowski.

“We’re encouraging everyone who grabs our cups to come to our exhibition: Stories About Hope and see the untold stories of Australia’s refugee community from the people who live them.”

Stories About Hope will be held at the No Vacancy Project Space, the Atrium, Fed Square celebrating the dignity, identities, and strength in people from refugee backgrounds. The exhibition is on from June 20th to June 25th daily from 11am – 5pm. For more information visit storiesabouthope.com.au

Road to Refuge is proud to be partnering with some of Melbourne’s best cafes, including coffee powerhouses Seven Seeds and Market Lane Coffees. Visit your local cafe listed below and grab a #CoffeeWithLayla during Refugee Week.

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About Road to Refuge:

Road to Refuge is a not-for-profit community organisation building a new conversation which supports and values the lived experience and dignity of people seeking asylum. Road to Refuge runs engaging and creative community events, educational initiatives and workshops alongside their interactive web-program. 

You can follow us on social media through our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook page.

Or you can head to our website and subscribe to the mailing list.

Participating Cafes List (14/6/2017):

  • Long Street Cafe, Richmond
  • Traveller, CBD
  • Hortus, Docklands
  • Brother Baba Budan, CBD
  • Seven Seeds, Carlton
  • Ho Ho’s Canteen, The University of Melbourne
  • Milkwood, Brunswick East
  • Armstrong Street Milkbar, Middle Park
  • Social Studio / The Cutting Table Cafe, Collingwood
  • Auction Rooms & Corner Cafe, North Melbourne
  • Market Lane Prahran Market
  • Market Lane Queen Victoria Market
  • Market Lane Therry Street
  • Market Lane Carlton
  • Market Lane Collins St
  • Everyday Coffee Collingwood
  • Everyday Coffee Midtown CBD
  • All Are Welcome Bakery Northcote
  • Cafe Tre Sette, Carlton
  • The Skylark Room, Upwey
  • Mile End Bagels, Fitzroy
  • Assembly, Carlton
  • Gravity Work Space CBD
  • STREAT Melbourne Central, CBD
  • STREAT McKillop St, CBD
Road to Refuge coffee cups return to share the untold stories of hope in Australia’s refugee community for Refugee Week

Get involved with Road To Refuge!

As the horror of Trump’s Muslim Ban came into effect, we were reminded again of the dehumanising and toxic rhetoric that dominate Australia’s own refugee debate. While families were being torn apart overseas, our former Immigration Minister Scott Morrison proclaimed that Trump’s ban on refugees showed the world was ‘catching up’ to Australia’s policies — the same policies that turn away and lock up people seeking safety while silencing their perspective.

There’s never been a more important time to shine on a light on the realities of Australia’s treatment of people seeking sanctuary and right now, Road To Refuge has some fantastic opportunities for you to get involved.

Road To Refuge was founded on a simple mission: to explore and untangle the complexities of seeking asylum by promoting the voices and stories of those who with lived experience. Our aim has been to create space for our community to interrogate Australia’s treatment of people seeking safety.

In 2017 we’ll be working even harder to bring the realities of seeking asylum out from the shadows. To do this, we’ll be looking to expand our online advocacy with a Communications Manager and Social Media Coordinator, while also continuing to run unique community engagement events with an Operations Team Leader and Dinner With Layla Project Coordinator. We’re looking to have a huge planning weekend on the 25th and 26th of February, so if you want get involved get you applications in quick! Join our team and help change the refugee narrative in Australia for good.

Position Descriptions

Email info@roadtorefuge.com to express interest in any of the roles, applications close on Monday 27th of February.

Get involved with Road To Refuge!

Have a #CoffeeWithLayla

Following last years success, Road to Refuge will be running our Coffee Cup Project  again this year to celebrate Refugee Week from June 19.

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During this week, cafes across Melbourne  be swapping their usual coffee cups for ones stamped with an image of Layla, one of Road to Refuge’s journey characters, to encourage customers to consider the journeys of people seeking asylum and refugees who have shaped Australia. Layla’s story is one of struggle and courage. While Layla’s character is fictional, the journey of many others in her position is not.

Coffee drinkers are invited to share a #coffeewithlayla and place themselves in the position of a person seeking safety by taking an interactive journey on Road to Refuge’s website. By sharing images of their coffee cups with the hashtag #coffeewithlayla, Melburnians will be a part of a wider campaign to raise awareness and engagement about issues facing people seeking asylum and refugees.

Project co-ordinator James Hickey, who has worked with social enterprises and cafes across Melbourne through his work with Scarf and Kinfolk, says the Refugee Week Coffee Cup Project will encourage members of the public, whether already passionate about these issues, non-committed or just wanting to engage more in a constructive dialogue; providing a chance to kickstart this engagement.

“Although the concept of the project is quite simple, encouraging people to educate themselves further on the realities of seeking asylum, and providing them with the means to do so, is an extremely powerful tool. Creating opportunities for more informed, dynamic discussions is immeasurable.”

Road to Refuge is proud to be partnering with some of Melbourne’s best cafes across both sides of the river, including coffee powerhouse Seven Seeds at all four of their cafes, with many cafes choosing to participate in the project for a second year. Visit your local cafe listed below and grab a #coffeewithlayla during Refugee Week.

We’d also love to to say a big thank you to BioPak, who jumped on board to support the project the minute they heard about it, offering a generous discount to help us get this project off teh ground and reach out to more people in the community through cafe participation.

And a special shout out to Lulu Cafe and Gallery in North Melbourne for hosting our launch party, and their generous support for the project!

CBD

  • Brother Baba Budan, Little Bourke Street

  • Good 2 Go, Hosier Lane

  • Hortus, Docklands

  • Kinfolk Cafe, Bourke Street

  • Sun Moth Canteen & Bar, Niagara Lane

  • Traveller, Crossley Street

Inner North

  • Addict, Fitzroy

  • Arkwright & Co, Carlton North

  • Assembly Coffee, Carlton

  • Auction Rooms, North Melbourne

  • Burnside, Fitzroy

  • Cafe Bu, Carlton North
  • Counter, North Melbourne

  • Everyday, Collingwood

  • De Clieu, Fitzroy

  • Friends of the Earth, Collingwood

  • Green Park Dining, Carlton North

  • Long Street Coffee, Richmond

  • Lulu Cafe & Gallery, North Melbourne

  • Newtown Specialty Coffee, Fitzroy

  • North Cafeteria, North Carlton

  • Seven Seeds, North Melbourne

  • Sir Charles, Fitzroy

  • Slowpoke Espresso, Fitzroy

  • Stagger Lees, Fitzroy

  • Twenty and Six Espresso, North Melbourne

Northern Suburbs

  • East Elevation, Brunswick

  • Lux Foundry, Brunswick

  • Milkwood, Brunswick East

  • Mixed Business, Fitzroy North

  • Pachamama, Brunswick

  • Phat Milk, Travancore

  • So & So, Travancore

  • Uncle Drew, Clifton Hill

  • Wide Open Road, Brunswick

Southside

  • Brighton Schoolhouse, Brighton

  • Coffee on Kareela, Frankston

Regional

  • Friar’s Street Food Store, Shepparton

  • Black Sheep Cafe, Corryong

Have a #CoffeeWithLayla

A Roundtable on Chasing Asylum

Kamna, Sebastian, Brigid and Alice of the Road to Refuge Communications team went and saw Chasing Asylum, a documentary by Eva Orner, last night at Cinema Nova.

A review in the Herald Sun recently described Chasing Asylum like this:

In Chasing Asylum, we have one of the most important documentaries ever made in this country, addressing one of the most important issues to ever face this country.

The Communications team were all shaken, stirred, moved and awoken by the documentary and in the below roundtable share their thoughts on the documentary, and what they think should happen next.

Photograph: Joel van Houdt/Chasing Asylum

Alice:  Even watching the film with a group of other Road To Refuge volunteers, who were all pretty familiar with many of the issues facing refugees and people seeking asylum, watching Chasing Asylum felt like I was re-learning the facts all over again, with a renewed sense of urgency.

The wide breadth of people interviewed by Eva Orner gives insight into the huge scope and diversity of people affected by Australia’s policies – the thousands of people who are currently in or have been in detention, the people stranded in countries like Indonesia unable to work or seek medical attention, the families separated all over the world.

I was particularly distressed by the witnessed horrors listed off by people who had spent time working in detention centres, and even more disturbed by the corruption in the running of these government facilities, in enabling ongoing human rights abuse.

Sebastian: Shame is the only word that comes to mind after watching Eva Orner’s exposé into the inhumane treatment of people seeking asylum currently in offshore detention on Manus Island and Nauru.

Shame that our policies are geared towards deterrence at a horrific human toll to people in need. Shame that everyday broken people in detention are driven to self harm. Shame that successive governments have knowingly maintained and supported these conditions behind a galling facade of pseudo-humanitarianism. And shame that this footage had to be filmed in secret and that simply disclosing what happens within the detention centers is now punishable by up to 2 years in jail under the Border Protection Act 2015.

As someone engaged in this space, watching the film reminded me that everyday our government is torturing innocent people including children in our name and the lack of sharing of information, stories and the human cost of all of this is something that needs to be addressed.

Chasing Asylum is a must watch for anyone who cares, doesn’t care or doesn’t know about what your life is like if you are one of the unlucky ones whose lives is at the mercy of Australia’s refugee polices.

Photograph: Chasing Asylum

Kamna: Having met and spoken to people who have faced the torturous, cruel and inhumane experience of being a person seeking asylum in Australia, I’ve often thought what is needed to translate these complex and heartbreaking yet simple stories of suffering to people in the Australian public caring and effecting change.

Watching Chasing Asylum last night through anguish and tears, I came to the realisation that a film like this might be it.

The wide ranging impact of how Australia chooses to treat people who make life threatening journeys across seas  to seek safety but only to end up living in insecurity and danger is explored comprehensively in Eva Orner’s film – in detention at Nauru and Manus Island, in limbo in Indonesia, by families who remain in countries of danger and learn of their loved ones’ demise in detention under Australian care and through Australians who work at detention centres.

But the message, stories and experiences are simple – with Eva Orner doing little except some brilliant film making and editing to bring this home.

How Australian governments have chosen to treat vulnerable people seeking asylum has cost the lives, futures and hopes of adults and children, and the fact that we have this on our hands is shameful and must stop.

Brigid: We’re all pretty familiar with the bleak, heartbreaking reality of Australia’s people seeking asylum and refugee policy. Offshore detention centres that are operating like prisons are somewhat staffed by untrained and unprepared workers, bouncers, security guards and military personnel. I went into Chasing Asylum knowing a bit about Nauru and Manus Island processing centres. Also doing social media for Road to Refuge means I get daily news alerts and read a fair bit about Australia’s offshore detention policies.

But watching this film was a real reminder that you can read about an issue all day and night and still not comprehend  how bleak the reality is. I want to say that I walked away from the film feeling hopeful but really I was just left with a sense of urgency about how much and how quickly these policies need to change. I am definitely going to be doing more research in to this issue, getting friends and family to see the film and educating myself around how my vote will play in to these policies at the July 2nd election.

Chasing Asylum is screening at cinemas across Australia. Information about locations and times are found here. We encourage you all to see this film, with a friend, family member, colleague or relative stranger and share the message. 

A Roundtable on Chasing Asylum

Dana’s picks for the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival

I go to the Human Rights and Arts Film Festival every year. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn more about human rights issues across the world and at home. It’s also a chance for me to reflect more deeply about human rights issues I think that I might already be across, like the way that refugees and people seeking asylum experience the world, in their struggle for safety.

This year HRAFF have really made an effort to highlight the experience of seeking asylum and what it means to be a refugee today in Australia and abroad.

So this year it’s your chance to get a new perspective about what it is to seek asylum or to deepen your understanding of it through the unique and moving lens of documentary film and the arts.

Make sure you get along to at least one of these:

Chasing Asylum

Chasing Asylum is a disruptive and subversive documentary that cracks open the detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru to shine the light in. With never before seen footage and heartbreaking and challenging interviews by whitsleblowers and refugees on those islands – this film will shock you. Highly recommended viewing for everyone – whether you work closely in this area or are a supporter of refugee rights from afar. Chasing Asylum is an important antidote to the government’s 1984 rhetoric and information black hole.

Chasing Asylum opened the festival to a sold-out crowd Thursday  night, but screens again on May 8. Not to be missed.

Dreaming of Denmark

Dreaming of Denmark, showing on Saturday, follows Wasiullah, who fled Afghanistan at just 15 years old. This film investigates what happens to the many refugee children who disappear from asylum centres year after year, providing brutally honest depictions of the transience, isolation and frightening uncertainty they face.

They Will Have to Kill Us First

After taking control of Northern Mali in 2012, Islamist extremists implemented a law banning all forms of music, effectively cutting off the lifeblood of Malian culture. Radio stations were demolished, instruments were destroyed and musicians faced torture, exile or death. Grab a spot to the Monday screening.

Rituals of Belonging

Rituals Of Belonging exhibition, running from May 10 to May 15, showcases an immersive visual, sound and performance experience from Australian contemporary artists and refugee perspectives.

Stories from Detention

On May 11, at Longplay, Behind the Wire (behindthewire.org.au) will play three stories of detention told to you by Mohammad, Donna and ‘Peter’ about their experiences of detention. This is a space where the voices of people who have been detained by the government are amplified and the white noise of Parliament and the media is turned off. There are two limited sessions, don’t miss out.

HRAFF Goes West

HRAFF Goes West is an afternoon of entertainment and discussion, showcasing the stories of our newest Australians and celebrating their cultural and creative contribution. The event kicks off with a rhythmic, cross-cultural performance by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s Music Group, followed by a selection of short films from the Festival’s 2016 line-up and  a panel discussion. This is a free event but you have to RSVP!

A Walnut Tree

A Walnut Tree is a film set in a Pakistani refugee camp. The film allows us to witness life from through Baba’s eyes, and by proxy, the experiences of many other displaced people around the globe today. This film will show on Saturday May 14

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Road to Refuge volunteer Emma Costa shares her new favourite cookbook

Yesterday I was introduced to the truly special cookbook, A Taste From Home, whose recipes are shared by refugees living in Malaysia. It was written by Haris Coussidis in partnership with UNHCR Malaysia with the understanding that food is both a way in which people can come together and a way in which people can maintain a connection to their culture and identity.

The book’s recipes are organised by home countries of the 17 contributing refugees which are Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Palestine, Syria, Irag, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

What makes the cookbook most special is that before each recipe, readers learn the significance of the dish to its contributor which is sensitively and honestly intertwined with stories from their refugee experience.

For example, Helena Asefa, who discusses that learning to make doro wat (chicken stew) is a rite of passage dish in her home country Ethopia, and that she will soon share it with her family who she has not seen in four years when she is resettled with them in Australia.

Common to each story was the idea that food enabled them to feel close to home. These stories were also accompanied by poignant photographs by author and photographer Haris Coussidis , who says she aims to put human face to refugee issues in Malaysia.

I also found it so beautiful that Haris was able to produce the book by being welcomed into the kitchens of each of the refugees who feature in it. For me, their generosity and openness to others really contrasted with their descriptions of having felt unwelcome upon arriving in Malaysia, and what we can witness transpiring the world over.

It really highlighted the ways in which people come together over food to share experiences and listen.

Of course, on top of the beauty of the book itself, I haven’t even mentioned the incredible recipes including Ouzi (Syrian stuffed filo pockets with spiced mints and nut), Tennai sambol (Sri Lanan coconut sambal), and anjero (Somali flatbread), which themselves stand alone as an incredible reason to check out the book.

A Taste From Home is such an incredible way for people to hear the stories of refugees through relating to a shared passion for food. I am looking forward to eating, learning, and sharing with others from it

Fardous, one of the contributors the book, making M'sakhan djaaj
Fardous, one of the contributors the book, making M’sakhan djaaj
Haris A Taste From Home
A Taste From Home”
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Bree McKilligan on running Yoga classes for women with a refugee background

Bree McKilligan takes free weekly classes at Fitzroy studio The Dance of Life for Women with a Refugee background. Her project is aimed at using yoga as a tool to provide support and create an inclusive, safe space for people with refugee backgrounds to explore, inquire and play.

Annie Belcher of our Schools Team caught up with Bree recently to speak about her connection to yoga, and how she became involved in the people seeking asylum and refugee advocacy space.

What brought you to yoga?

My mother practiced yoga in the days when yoga practitioners in Australia were mainly middle class women and wore daggy leotards! So as a young teenager I would go along to classes with her. I feel like I have been always doing yoga!

What is yoga to you?

It is meditation in motion and offers an opportunity to experience a feeling of oneness with all things.

How did you get involved in the refugee and people seeking asylum space?

Working as a creative producer in the fields of community arts and community media, I have been engaged with people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds for a number of years. I also have friends and ex-partners who are from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.

What led you to start the class?

The class started early in 2013 after I had finished my first lot of yoga teaching training and Johannes Mochayedi , director of my favourite studio, the Dance of Life Centre of Yoga and Healing, talked to me about offering a class to women from refugee and migrant backgrounds. As a new teacher I was keen to teach a free class to both start my teaching by offering karma yoga and also to practice my teaching.

Yoga classes have become quite expensive so I was interested in there being free classes. In addition, yoga in the West has gained a reputation for being mainly for very able bodied, white people.  

I believe all people, regardless of able-bodiedness, ethnicity, class or financial status, should have the opportunity to experience and benefit from yoga should they be interested. 

Yoga teacher Becky Fleming was also approached by Johannes to teach and she and I alternate each class. When we can’t teach, long-term yoga teachers Felicity Steel and Elizabeth Bell kindly step in to teach. None of the yoga teachers are paid for the class and Johannes donates the studio time.

Who are the classes for?

All people who identify as women. For me this includes trans women as well as cis-gendered women. Our flyer rather awkwardly says ‘Free yoga class, All women welcome: encouraging women from migrant and refugee backgrounds’ as we want women to feel welcome and not ghetto-ized as being ‘migrant and refugee’.

It’s been a lovely mix of people to date – people whose country of birth has included Vietnam, Malaysia, India and China as well as Australia – and students have melded well together. We also have students at all levels of practice – as a teacher that can be challenging as some students progress with regular attendance and others come in so new to yoga that lying down in a group class with a straight spine and relaxing with eyes closed is a new challenge to them! We also have some students bring children during school holidays which is great as it means the mothers can keep coming during the holidays. We aim to be flexible and inclusive.

Phuong, one of Bree's longest attending students, in practice!
Phuong, one of Bree’s longest attending students, in practice!

Why specifically for women?

It is women only so that women who may not feel comfortable doing exercise with men feel free to attend.

What do you hope people get out of the class?

I think we all hope to share the great benefits of yoga – which include greater peace of mind, self-nurturing, greater physical well being, camaraderie and happiness as well as, for the seeker, spiritual awareness. Yoga can be many different things to many different people.

I hope that any women who are feeling socially isolated may experience a sense of having a warm community and caring teachers.

If people would like to go or get involved what is the best way for them to do so?

We would love more students! People can get in touch via our Om Yoga Facebook page at Om Yoga Women Facebook page or they can call Becky on 0411 960 772 and myself on 0413 895 527. The classes are 1-2pm at the Dance of Life Centre of Yoga and Healing, 250 George Street, Fitzroy (which can be found here Dance Of Life Yoga Studio or on our Facebook page Dance of Life Facebook page)

New students are welcome to call and ask a lot of questions first if they like!

Other places to find community yoga classes and projects which might interest you:

Bree McKilligan on running Yoga classes for women with a refugee background

Get to know Road to Refuge’s volunteers: Jules and Judy

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The Scene: The two Road to Refuge Volunteers met in Judy’s lunch break to ask each other a few questions over chai lattes and sandwiches at Heart Attack and Vine on Lygon Street.

Why do you volunteer for Road to Refuge?

Jules: A few different reasons – initially it was broader and a general disdain for current policies and conversations about people seeking refuge and asylum, and a feeling that things need to change. Once I started, I found the organisation itself is fun and volunteers are like-minded people with a lot of passion and drive who share the vision as well, which makes it a very inspiring and exciting environment.

Judy: Yeah, I think you summed it up really well there Jules. I felt so disheartened and helpless and then realised that I could in fact start to do something about it. I saw the events position advertised and jumped at the opportunity, as I also wanted more experience with event planning and it al seemed too perfect. Oh, and if we are being honest, initially I also wanted to join R2R to become better friends with Dana (Mission accomplished by the way).

Judy: …and we should have asked, what is your role at Road to Refuge?

Jules: I am the Schools Coordinator, which means I organise and coordinate school workshops and events as well as facilitating and training other facilitators in running those.

Judy: I’m the Events Team Co-ordinator. The Events Team plan, organise and pull-off education-based events.

Jules: So what kind of events do you put on?

Judy: We do events that try to hit particular groups, which may not engage in refugee and people seeking asylum issues. My favourite event so far was Women Who Seek Safety, a panel held at the Wheeler Centre which addressed intersectionality; it looked at the fact that feminists in Melbourne had largely ignored the issues specifically faced by females who seek asylum, and that these are important feminist issues.

Jules: Why was it your favourite?

Judy: For me, gender and women is something I’m passionate about. I majored in this area at university and it gets me really angry. The event itself went so well too, we sold out the Wheeler Centre and there was a real buzz. The speakers were all fantastic and inspiring.

Where do you do most of your R2R work?

Judy: In bed at about 11 at night! Or Emily (who as of this year is our new director) and I  are known for Saturday morning power-working sessions in my kitchen.

Jules: Media Creatures, an amazing group of people working in media production let Road to Refuge use their office space in Collingwood, so I’ve been going in weekly and using their wonderful big office.

Outside of R2R, how do you spend your time?

Judy: I just graduated a Master of Public Health and landed a job at the Cancer Council in health education. Aside from that, I spend far too much time reading health food blogs, celebrity blogs and going to nightclubs!

Jules: I’m just into my second year of a Juris Doctor Law degree at Monash University and that takes up a lot of my time. Outside of that… I have been watching a lot of X-Files and Survivor and just started on the new season of The Bachelor. I also work at the Queen Victoria Market as a Tea and Coffee Merchant!

Judy: Oh oops, I also forgot to say I’ve started the new season of The Bachelor, so yeah that takes up quite some time.

Who do you live with?

Jules: I live with 3 friends who I’ve lived with for about 5 years. We live in a skinny single fronted terrace and we enjoy watching the aforementioned television programs together. We also generally read the paper together each morning; Sofia does the cryptic, Lily reads the quiz, I give my opinions and Annie frequently steals the paper.

Judy: Funnily enough, I also live with three friends that I’ve lived with for about five years. What do we do? Gosh, I guess if I’m being honest we pretty frequently stand around in our active wear and discuss food and exercise at length… We are currently living in Clifton Hill after living in North Fitzroy for about 3 years and I think we are all still secretly mourning the old house.

Jules: Why do you mourn the old house?

Judy: It was in the best location and had so much character and we had the best times there!

What are you excited about in the year to come for Road to Refuge?

Judy: I’m excited about continuing on the theme of intersectionality and hitting on a lot of issues currently not talked about enough in this sector.

Jules: I am excited about the regional tours this year in Warrnambool and Bendigo, very excited to meet with the students and to do some work with the events team and do some events in those areas as well!

Judy: Oh cool idea Jules! We should definitely talk events!

Get to know Road to Refuge’s volunteers: Jules and Judy