‘Very nice’ to be welcomed
Support key for refugee families
AFTER fleeing war-torn Syria three years ago and enduring a rough trip to Australia by boat, the Jamali family has finally settled in Mt Druitt.
Shiva Qanbarian and husband Ahmad Jamali arrived on Christmas Island with their two young children more than three years ago.
The family spent months in detention centres before they were granted a visa and settled in a Mt Druitt home.
Mrs Qanbarian said they lived in Syria for more than 10 years before fleeing.
“We didn’t know anyone here but we heard about Australia and were told it was really nice,” she said.
Each week the Colyton Community Hub deals with an average of 20 local families in the same situation as the Jamalis. The hub offers counselling, speech therapy and childcare services.
Support worker Eva Hanna said it was important these families felt welcome in the community.
“Asylum seekers like Shiva’s family come with so many problems and having them settle in is a long process – it doesn’t happen overnight,” she said.
“The most common issues we see are in their children’s upbringing. It is an eye open- er for them to accept and learn the rules, regulations and laws of this country.
“Their kids are often confused and don’t know how they fit in at home and at school. Shiva’s family have been though a lot and I admire their courage and passion.”
Mrs Qanbarian said she wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support she had received from the hub.
“It is very good when you come to a country and you don’t know anyone, you don’t know any rules and you have someone like Eva helping you and welcoming you,” she said. “It is very nice.”
The hub is inviting locals to welcome new Syrian refugees using social media.
Community Hubs Australia CEO Sonja Hood said: “We all have a role in supporting the arrival, settlement and transition of refugees into society.
“Through the #Welcome campaign we wanted to give Australians a platform to share their messages of support and welcome in their own voice.”
Welcome Shiva and hundreds of other families by using the hashtag #welcome on social media. For more information, visit welcome. communityhubs.org.au
Colyton Community Hub support worker Eva Hanna with Syrian refugee Shiva Qanbarian and her children Lara and Amir Jamali. Picture: Peter Kelly