A small country Queensland group is making big efforts to welcome the stranger, creating homestays for refugees and asylum-seekers. Source: The Catholic Leader.
In Warwick, the Southern Downs Refugee and Migrant Network, with about 20 members, has partnered with the Romero Centre in Brisbane to set up an innovative homestay project that offers some of the country’s most vulnerable refugees a place to escape for the weekend.
“It’s a way of saying we welcome you, we care, and we wish that Australia could offer you a permanent home,” homestays organiser Emma Yates said.
“We’ve had some families with kids who have come out during the school holidays and they have loved it.”
The homestay project provides welcome respite for refugees and asylum-seekers, on temporary protection visas, who often live in crowded, stressful and uncertain living situations.
Ms Yates said it offered refugees a chance to go bush walking, swim, pat a horse, ride a quad bike, and share a family meal in quiet surroundings./p>
“Their lives are so in limbo and their lives must be in constant anxiety about what will happen next,” she said.
Ms Yates said she and husband Steve were long-time supporters of the Romero Centre and had become ambassadors for Romero’s regular giving program – One in a Thousand.
The Romero Centre was established in 2000 in response to the needs of people arriving in Australia seeking safety and human rights. In December 2003, the Romero Centre came under the care of The Sisters of Mercy.
A taste of country Queensland is a welcome relief for refugees (By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader)