Marie Sellstom, President of Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR), was the speaker at a meeting in Ballina attended by RAR branches from Ballina, Lismore, Uki and Federal last Sunday.
There are over 90 branches of Rural Australians for Refugees across Australia In our Region alone there are 5 branches – Ballina, Lismore, Uki, Federal and Pottsville. All these communities are working together to ensure that we act with compassion and tolerance towards asylum seekers and refugees.
Marie said “there is growing concern in Regional & Rural Australia regarding Refugee issues and the role Australia should play now and in the future. More and more concerned and committed individuals want to support refugees so that they in turn can contribute to the Australian community in future.
In April 2018 there will be a Rural Australians for Refugees National Conference in Albury/ Wadonga with keynote speakers including Julian Burnside AO QC, Emeritus Professors Gillian Triggs, Stuart B. Hill and Sr Jan Barnett.
There will also be many workshops including one on Home hosting, which will be facilitated by Gunela Astbrink, President of Ballina Region for Refugees. Gunela will share experiences of Ballina’s own successful Homestay Programme. Over 70 refugees have stayed with local host families in the region and experienced a warm welcome. At the same time, local hosts have learned about the bravery of people who have fled danger to seek safety in Australia and to build a new future.