Soup kitchen to help refugees

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - Therese Col­man

Mar­garet River res­i­dent Chris Thomas and the Soup Kitchen’s Dave See­gar have teamed up to raise money for Ro­hingya refugees flee­ing Myan­mar.

Com­mu­nity do­na­tions and profit from the Soup Kitchen this month will aid the pair’s hope to ease some of the suf­fer­ing.

Mr Thomas last month trav­elled to In­done­sia, where he met peo­ple who were part of more than 100,000 refugees who fled to Java en route to Christ­mas Is­land.

“These peo­ple are trapped, scared, hun­gry and liv­ing in in­hu­mane con­di­tions,” he said.

“At the time, I was able to pro­vide do­na­tions in the form of food and clothes, but I’d like to see the com­mu­nity of Mar­garet River come to­gether so we can raise some money, too.”

Mr Thomas said many of the refugees he spoke to were un­aware of the cor­rect pro­ce­dures to gain refugee sta­tus in Aus­tralia.

“Peo­ple smug­glers are ask­ing fam­i­lies for up to $10,000 to flee the area, and these fam­i­lies are so des­per­ate that they have put their life sav­ings and trust in these peo­ple. Fam­i­lies have sold their land, houses, ev­ery be­long­ing ever owned by them, and are risk­ing their lives to get here,” he said.

Mr See­gar said the Ro­hingya refuge cri­sis was a “hor­ri­ble cir­cum­stance for this day and age”.

“For a whole race and cul­ture to be per­se­cuted for rea­sons in the 21st cen­tury that shouldn’t ex­ist, it re­ally makes you think about how well we have it here in Aus­tralia,” he said.

Mr Thomas and Mr See­gar would work closely with lo­cal pho­tog­ra­pher David Dare Parker, who spent a month late last year at a Ro­hingya refugee camp in Bangladesh.

“We’ll raise as much as we can, so we have the funds for David to take over there, or we may even make the trip to Bangladesh and Myan­mar in the near fu­ture,” Mr Thomas said.

“Hope­fully, Dave and I can visit a refugee camp to cook for them our­selves.”

Do­na­tions can be made by call­ing Mr Thomas on 0405 275 282, or see Mr See­gar at the Soup Kitchen to get bank de­tails.

Pic­ture: Therese Col­man

Dave See­gar and Chris Thomas will raise money for Ro­hingya refugees at the Soup Kitchen this month.

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