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Celebrating refugee week

Celebrating refugee week

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Whittlesea Council is celebrating its refugee community and raising awareness around issues they face every day during Refugee Week 2020.

Administrator Lydia Wilson said the City of Whittlesea plays a significant role helping refugees settle into their new surroundings and integrate into the community.

“We acknowledge and celebrate all of our residents who come from 130 different counties,” Ms Wilson said.

“Refugee Week is a chance for us to focus on providing a safe and welcoming environment for refugees and everyone in our community,” she said.

Ms Wilson recently signed a Welcoming Australia and Democracy in Colour declaration that commits Council to ensuring that nobody is left behind during the COVID-19 this pandemic, particularly migrant communities.

Council has also contributed $50,000 to Whittlesea Community Connections from the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund to help provide support to vulnerable people living in the community.

Norma Medawar, a refugee from Syria, works at Whittlesea Community Connections and said the donation is making a “huge difference” to helping those in need during the pandemic.

“The crisis started suddenly so the funding helped us kick off the start of buying frozen meals and dry goods to provide to people in need,” Ms Medewar said.

“We’re working with the Whittlesea Food Collective, packing food for people in need. The volunteers feel good about helping other people and they feel good about themselves because they’re doing something, they feel connected.”

Coinciding with Refugee Week, Council has partnered with Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (EMPHN) to offer refugees and other vulnerable communities in the City of Whittlesea a free influenza immunisation.

The $40,000 mobile influenza immunisation service, funded by EMPHN and delivered by City of Whittlesea, targets poor immunisation rates amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and refugee, asylum seekers and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Organisations providing relief to vulnerable residents are encouraged to contact Council to discuss options on how clients can access the vaccine.

Visit our event page to see a series of online discussions, workshops and a concert to celebrate Refugee Week.