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One-day refugee seminar aims to break open myths, showcase first-hand stories


Young refugees wait in line for tea at a makeshift camp on April 11 at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece. Pope Francis will travel to Lesbos, Greece on April 16. Photo: CNS/Stoyan Nenov, Reuters.

A second seminar aimed at better understanding the plight of refugees will be held this month.

The free one-day seminar is being co-ordinated by the Archdiocesan Alliance for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, which has been working on developing a positive strategy in response to the recent refugee crises.

The seminar will take place on Saturday, 30 April from 10am to 4pm at Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament Gosnells Parish, 175 Corfield Street, Gosnells. Anyone with an interest or curiosity in the area is encouraged to attend.

Speakers at the seminar will aim to break open and discuss a number of topics, including legal issues, myths, distortions and facts about those seeking refuge, as well as the politics of humanitarian support.

The seminar will also showcase first-hand stories from people who have sought asylum and protection in Australia, while equipping those who attend with practical tools of how they can be an instrument of influence and change in their own parish community.

It will also allow those who attend the chance to connect with fellow participants in shared conversation.

Members of the Alliance include representatives from Catholic agencies, including Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH), Justice and Ecology Development Office (JEDO), St Vincent de Paul, Catholic Mission, Caritas, MercyCare and the Catholic Archdiocese.

A particular focus for the Alliance has been to assess what is the best way to positively influence and re-construct community views about refugees and asylum seekers.

It has also been working on successfully implementing a strategy to better support refugees through education and information which creates an alternative narrative.

The one-day free seminar is open to anyone with an interest or curiosity in the area. If you wish to attend, please confirm your place by contacting Mr Renay Grech, Manager Catholic Services Development, by email at