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Refugee Week 2020 – Celebrating the Year of Welcome

Refugee Week celebrates contributions made by refugees to Australian society. This year Refugee Week runs from Sunday 14 June to Saturday 20 June. At the City of Whittlesea, Refugee Week events will run from Tuesday 16 – Friday 26 June 2020.

City of Whittlesea is a Refugee Welcome Zone

The City of Whittlesea is committed to supporting its Refugee and asylum seeker residents who live, work or study in the City of Whittlesea. We recognise their struggle, resilience and determination to create a safe future for themselves and their families. The City of Whittlesea celebrates Refugee Week in partnership with the community as a Refugee Welcome Zone, to uphold the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers, demonstrate compassion and enhance cultural and religious diversity in our community.


Tuesday 16 June: The importance of our stories on stage and screen 

Facebook live panel discussion with actors Osamah Sami, Nicole Chamoun hosted by artist Aseel Tayah. Streamed on Bukjeh Facebook page 

Wednesday 17 June: Portraits 

A visual study of contributions to our community by residents with asylum seeker and refugee backgrounds. All locals, some of these folk predate off-shore processing, only one managing to arrive via such means. No one had an easy story to tell. Watch now 

Thursday 18 June: We were and still are – here

Facebook live panel discussion with community leaders Maria Dimopoulos and Tarek Bakri, hosted by artist Aseel Tayah. Streamed on Bukjeh Facebook page 

Friday 19 June, 10am: The Secret Heroes

Aphysical storytelling workshop using body language to explore and express. Led by professional BUKJEH artist, José Luis Alejandro Inostroza Aqueveque, participants will use simple movement and natural rhythms to share personal stories of home, journeys and the objects they would take if forced to leave. Bookings:

Monday 22 June: What I wish I'd known

Northern Health presents a video of Dr. Batool Albatat, reflecting on her experience of coming here as a refugee from Iraq - Watch now  

Monday 22 June: Our Community – a film

Listen to poets, artists and a chef tell their story of welcome and connection. People from a refugee background living in our community will share their story as well as their knowledge, strength and skills using different mediums - poetry, art and cooking. Whittlesea Community Connections is privileged to know such people and we hope you enjoy watching too. Watch the video from midday. 

Monday 22 June: We were and still are – here

Facebook live panel discussion with community leaders Maria Dimopoulos and Tarek Bakri, hosted by artist Aseel Tayah. Streamed on Bukjeh Facebook page  

Tuesday 23 June, 2pm: Weaving words into Images 

A poetry and creative writing workshop. Led by Egyptian poet Rania Ahmed, participants will share stories of home, journeys and displacement then explore them through poetry and creative writing. Workshop:

Wednesday 24 June: Racism Stops with Me and the Power of US!

Film launch - a community response to racism. Community members and leaders have used their mobile phone to film anti-racism messages. Watch now 

Thursday 25 June, 1.30–2.30pm: Online Seminar

The Hume/Whittlesea Refugee Immunisation Project invites community leaders and newly arrived communities to an online seminar about the importance of protecting families against vaccine preventable diseases and help answer all your questions about how immunisation may effect Centrelink payments and entry into school. Join the event on Facebook. 

Thursday 25 June, 7-8pm: From the World to Whittlesea

An online concert, marking Refugee Week 2020Streamed online, professional artists, musicians, poets and storytellers perform live. Overshadowed by the impact of COVID19, the refugee experience is ageless. People have always emigrated, but many have done so against their will, facing impossible challenges, so while we lament the difficulties of staying home, this concert will remind us of those who have been forced to leave theirs. Bookings:





Friday 26 June: Never with empty hands - film

Stories of Belonging Melbourne AMEP, the Volunteer Tutor Scheme and students from Melbourne Polytechnic take part in this Refugee Week ProjectThis work acknowledges that all new arrivals to Australia come with rich stories to share that often remind us of the relationships and attachments we all have to place, family and culture - Watch teaser now

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Photo credits:

Bukjeh, Performer: José Luis Alejandro Inostroza Aqueveque. Photo: Amil Alhasan

The making of the Anti-Rascism film. Photo: Supplied

Vardos Trio. Photo: Melisa Savickas

Alcides. Photo: Supplied