“When people show you who they are, believe them.” Maya Angelou.
Seeking asylum in Australia is complex, often punitive and unnecessarily bureaucratic. For many people who visit House of Welcome, the process of applying for protection can take many years. The uncertainty of their status in Australia can be stressful, isolating and disempowering.
From this position of personal limbo and against the current political backdrop, it is rare for people seeking asylum to feel safe and secure enough to show the community who they really are. Often, people guard their stories, families and own hearts against the possibility of revealing too much for fear of visa rejection or delay.
In the absence of their authentic voices, misleading information and mistruths have filled the void. The loudest voices are charged with fear and mistrust, they scaremonger in the community and isolate people seeking asylum in an attempt to divide and other. The language they use often portrays our clients as a homogenous group with one common story and as an unknown element in our society.
Truth be Told is changing the conversation, replacing the current one-way dialogue and amplifying the voices of those seeking protection.
In March 2019, people from the House of Welcome employment program, Empowered to Work, were trained and mentored by the Refugee Council of Australia in best practice methods to tell their stories. With professional guidance and care, they have been empowered to speak their truth to the public and draw our communities together.
Since then, our speakers have been employed to work with high school students, corporate volunteers, community groups and teaching staff from all over Sydney. On each occasion, guests have been moved by what they have heard, surprised by the diversity of experiences and inspired to take what they’ve heard back to their communities.
Truth be Told participants have been equally moved by the community interactions.
“I felt honoured and proud to tell my story. While I was speaking I was thinking of good memories from home. The hardest part of telling my story was when I was talking about separating from my mother but I want to inspire people with my words.” Rebeeha
With each engagement, the speakers grow in confidence, build skills for future employment and increase their social capital.
Truth be Told enables people to speak, show who they are and be believed.
Truth be Told gives schools, community groups and corporate organisations a chance to engage with people seeking asylum telling authentic stories and sharing real life experiences. Presentations can be tailored to suit each event with topics including personal journeys, experiences seeking protection and how your group can support House of Welcome and advocate for people seeking asylum.
If you would like more information about booking one or more of our speakers, please contact Leonie Dyer 9727 9290 or [email protected]