A family of eight that spent 10 years in a refugee camp have been welcomed to the Sunshine Coast, thanks to a group of locals committed to resettling those in need.
As the world marked World Refugee Day on June 20, the family members from the Democratic Republic of the Congo were welcomed with open arms by the Sunshine Coast Refugee Friendship Group.
The family lived in a refugee camp in Kenya for the past 10 years and relocated to the region through the federal government’s Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot program.
Under this pilot, groups of five or more ordinary Australians can sponsor a family that is referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as refugees in urgent need of resettlement.
The program is run by registered charity, Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia.
The Sunshine Coast Refugee Friendship Group is a mix of Mudjimba and Coolum residents with one thing in common: they are horrified by the plight of refugees and want to do something that makes a difference.
Group member Andrew Merry says they were excited to welcome the family to the region.
“It’s such a privilege to welcome this family, who has experienced so much uncertainty and trauma, to the beautiful Sunshine Coast and be part of their journey as they settle in here,” he says.
“We’re so excited to take positive, practical action to show the Australian community’s spirit and generosity to this family, who is escaping a situation of conflict and insecurity that is hard for many of us to even imagine.”
The group will support the family for their first 12 months on the Sunshine Coast. That will include organising temporary accommodation, opening bank accounts, securing jobs or helping family members learn English.
For more information on the group, call 0409 609 181.