One of the hardest emotions for social change workers to handle is helplessness, experienced in the face some community situations, says social change activist Fran Peavey. They cannot come in and ‘save the day’ nor can they pretend they have not seen what they have seen.
The volunteers, staff and refugees attending the Fitzroy Learning Network (FLN) face these feelings in their association with Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) holders and they work closely with Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR).
While the Government seeks information and considers a TPVs situation, a state of limbo exists which is not easy, as TPVs are usually separated from loved ones and live in fear they could be suddenly be ‘sent back’.
Kirsty Fiddian a FLN volunteer put together a photographic exhibition telling the stories of 12 TPVs ‘Through Our Eyes’ – the refugees were given disposable cameras to tell their own stories of life as a TPV. It was a ‘human’ gesture – her team knew they would not ‘save the day’, but they also knew they would come to understand the situation free of journalistic and political hype and could pass this knowledge on to others.
In Airey’s Inlet on 18-19 June, World Refugee Day, RAR staged the exhibition at the Aireys Inlet Primary School in conjunction with the school community. A refugee spoke to school groups prior to the exhibition and after viewing the exhibition school students were given disposable cameras to tell their own stories.
The exhibition was opened by Councillor Libby Meares, Surf Coast Shire and David Corlett read from his new book, ‘Following them Home – the Fate of returned Asylum Seekers
The exhibition ‘Through our eyes’ is available free to interested groups, subject only to arrangement for transport and set-up.
CONTACT Kirsty directly on 0412 279 044.