‘Very nice’ to be wel­comed

Sup­port key for refugee fam­i­lies

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Jil­lian Mc­Kee

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

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