AUSSIE kids from Inglewood are managing to do something that appears beyond many adults — make refugees feel welcome in Australia.
After meeting two refugees this year, and inspired by the book My Two Blankets, about a little girl arriving in a new country and finding a safe place under an old blanket made of memories from home, the Inglewood primary school year sixes set out to make two quilts to donate to refugee families.
Indonesian language teacher Gabi Hollands helped, but stresses the kids did a huge amount of work themselves, coming up with four-letter words of hope to stitch into the quilt, and she simply added a few final touches to put it together.
Chelsea Borg says “for some of us it was our first time sewing”, and she says once they had the squares complete “Ibu Gabi” as they call Ms Hollands, “brought it back to school and it looked like she touched it with a magic wand”.
This week the group presented their finished works to Red Cross members Claire Collery and Ashraff Mohammad, who is a refugee from Afghanistan.
“I come from a refugee background as well, I was about your age when we fled Afghanistan,” he told the children. “We went to Pakistan, it was around midnight that we packed everything.”
Mr Mohammad eventually had to flee Pakistan too as the security situation there deteriorated, arriving in Australia in 2011 and spending a year in detention.
“For someone who has come through this journey the best thing for them is they get a welcome, like you guys did today. For a refugee who has become homeless, this is the best thing for them,” he said.
“They’re not coming here for money, they’re running for their lives and they’re coming here to start a new life and to get a warm welcome and for someone to say we care about you, that’s the best thing and I really thank you for that.
“This will go to two families, one family of five from Sri Lanka and the other a family of three, an Afghani family, and they’ll be delighted.”
by DAVID BELL