Bega Valley locals open their homes to refugees

It's a holiday they could only have dreamt of.

It's a holiday they could only have dreamt of.

In May three generous-hearted families gave freely of their time and homes to provide a group of asylum seekers a two-week holiday under the auspices of Bega Valley Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR). 

Five men and a five-year old boy from Afghanistan and Iraq stayed in the area, spread between Tilba and Eden. Hosts and asylum seekers alike were deeply impressed by the experience.

After enduring terror in their homelands, life in border camps and the perilous journey to our shores, the asylum seekers were newly released from detention centres on bridging visas and facing an uncertain future. They are not permitted to work or enrol in any government-assisted educational/ training program. Yet their desire to make a contribution to Australia is very strong, hosts blown away by their generosity and eagerness to participate in all aspects of day to day life, including the domestic chores.

During the holiday, hosts were supported by a team of people providing day trips and lifts. 

Bega Valley Shire Council put on an afternoon tea and Bend Eco-Neighbourhood provided the space for a community dinner. Also on offer were workshops and a visit to Potoroo Palace. 

In all the holiday was an outstanding success, thanks to the warmth and goodwill of the hosts, supporters and the broader community, demonstrating in action that the Bega Valley is worthy of its status as a Refugee Welcome Zone.

After $500 for asylum seekers was raised at Well Thumbed Books during Cobargo’s Eat, Think, Create weekend in June, Bega Valley RAR is looking forward to offering another group of asylum seekers a home-stay holiday in the September school holidays.

 If you would like to participate in our program as either a host or a supporter (day trips, lifts, co-hosting), please contact us at begavalleyrar@gmail.com.

Isobel Blackthorn

Homestay Holiday Coordinator, Bega Valley RAR

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