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During Refugee Week, on Friday June 19, photographs documenting the experiences of refugees will be featured at Courage, an exhibition at Sydney Dance Lounge, Walsh Bay.

The public is invited to attend this exhibition, and enjoy some drinks and canapes, to raise funds for SSI Ignite Small Business Start-ups, an enterprise facilitation program for refugees.

Courage Photos on exhibit at Courage.

Some of SSI’s Ignite entrepreneurs will feature in the photographs, alongside images of other refugees who have made great achievements since fleeing their countries of origin and arriving in Australia.

The event has been organised by two immigration lawyers, Adriana Mercado and Marina Brizar.

Ms Mercado was born in El Salvador but had to flee with her parents who were given refugee protection in Australia when she was age two.

Ms Brizar and her family were also granted refugee status by Australia in 1995 after they had to escape war-torn Sarajevo, Bosnia.

The women now work for Playfair Visa & Migration Services. Ms Mercado specialises in offshore humanitarian protection matters and Ms Brizar is head of the corporate and private client division.

As an amateur photographer, Ms Mercado took the featured photographs and Ms Brizar wrote profiles of each subject and raised sponsorship for the event – mostly via the Bank of Canada and Playfair.

“Every person has a story worth telling, especially those who overcome adversity and hardship to achieve extraordinary feats,” Ms Brizar said.

“For the millions of people who have and continue to fear persecution, merely surviving is an act of courage. We’ve had the good fortune of meeting people who have far exceeded their potential and social expectations when safety, security and opportunities were offered to them.”

Some of these courageous people feature in the exhibition.

Tickets ($60, incl drinks and canapes) can be purchased at www.courageamb.com to support SSI Ignite.

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