It is better where refugees are not seen as simply a source of information, but rather as a partner for the change.
– Pacifique Ndayisaba
In late January this year, MUC received an urgent request from the Uniting Church Justice and International Mission (JIM) Unit to financially assist a Burundian refugee to travel from his home in rural Victoria to Adelaide to attend the ‘Refugee Alternatives conference’ https://refugeealternatives.org.au/ which was run on the 19th and 20th of February. This conference was an initiative of the Refugee Council of Victoria, on the theme of ‘A Platform for Change’, calling for policy changes in five areas: end offshore processing; treat people seeking asylum fairly; end mandatory indefinite detention; do more to protect refugees in the world; and work better with our regional neighbours.
The MUC Connections group is fully supportive of the aims of this conference and the JIM Unit’s desire to enable refugees to be involved in this sort of opportunity and was pleased to be able to respond to this request.
We need to hear stories from people who have sought asylum in Australia and the JIM unit has set up a travel fund so that refugees can build on their capacity to share their stories, advocate and be involved in community building. At the time of the request, we didn’t know the identity of the Burundian refugee, and so it is fascinating to learn of Pacifique Ndayisaba’s life via this interesting interview with Mark Zirnsak.