Refugee Week is Australia’s peak annual activity to inform the public about refugees and celebrate positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society. 

It is a unique opportunity for us all to experience and celebrate the rich diversity of refugee communities through theatre, music, dance, film, and other events which take place all over Australia. This year the theme for Refugee Week is, ‘Healing’. 

Local refugee advocacy group, Welcome to Maleny (W2M), formed during Refugee Week in 2016 as a result of an encouraging response to a ‘Community Conversations’ meeting at the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre. 

The central theme of the forum was, ‘how can the Maleny community support people from refugee backgrounds and learn more about people who seek asylum?’ 

Co-founder of W2M, Lisa McDonald explains, “Our aim is to build a supportive network to provide sustainable and practical solutions for the ongoing challenges faced by people from refugee backgrounds, near and far. 

“Now more than ever, there is a need for greater compassion, kindness, and healing across the planet. 

“With the continued support and generosity of the Maleny community, and from so many people further afield, W2M is committed to keep actively and compassionately doing exactly what it set out to do.”

As it has done for the past six years, W2M is hosting a movie screening in acknowledgement of the 2022 Refugee Week. 

On Saturday June 18, in the Maleny RSL Hall, W2M will be showing the recently released documentary, Freedom Street by director Alfred Pek. This multi award-winning film explores the harrowing plights of Joniad, Ashfaq and Azizah (pictured), three refugees who are affected by the consequences of Australia’s policies who are trapped in Indonesia. 

This feature-length documentary tells their moving stories whilst deconstructing Australia’s cruel border protection policy in a series of conversations with various experts, illuminating the issue in its entire (dark) historical and contemporary context. 

Freedom Street provides insight into Australia’s long history of border control and Australian-Indonesian relations, which serve to contextualise the struggle of our three protagonists as they look towards an uncertain future. 

The documentary highlights the cost of Australia’s undemocratic policies, both on the refugees and the Australian taxpayers over the years, while urgently sounding the alarm for meaningful and humane solutions to an ever-worsening issue. 

Following the screening will be a Q&A session with Alfred Pek, via Zoom, and some of the people starring in the documentary, via Zoom. This event will be catered for by Sujauddin Rua Haung Café, selling authentic Rohingya cuisine (cash only).

For ticket purchases and further information about the evening’s program and catering go to trybooking.com/events/landing?eid=907916& 

W2M hosted events are always popular, so booking early is recommended. For event enquiries email: welcome2maleny@gmail.com or call 0407138182.

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