Catholic Ladies College, Eltham Stand in Solidarity

The Social Justice and Environment group’s goal the past term, at Catholic Ladies’ College, Eltham, has been to raise student and teacher awareness of the current situation of asylum seekers in Australia. Seeking asylum in Australia is not illegal. In fact, it is a basic human right. This is the message we intended to get across to our audience.

The week began with a simple cake stall that brought the students’ attention to the week in an effective manner. The funds raised will be put towards bettering living standards of those seeking asylum in Australia. A consultation process undertaken by the United Nations Human Rights Council found that many asylum-seekers in Australia live in a state of destitution, in poor housing conditions and without essentials such as beds and refrigerators. Even if our donation is only a small amount in perspective, every little thing counts to make a change.

Wednesday brought guest speakers along with it. The stories of personal experiences with friends and families who sought asylum in Australia humanised the issue. It allowed those there to begin to think more deeply about the treatment of people who are seeking asylum and the Australian Government’s response to the situation.

Our silent protest during the week had the key message of “making links, not chains”. The reactions of the students to the sight of around 20 participants with duct tapped mouths, spoke volumes. The thought, “who will speak out against injustices if we don’t” resonated among those looking on. The event was a success in sparking interest and discussion around the theme for the week and it was great to see the number of participants who got involved