- Published: Monday, 02 June 2014 17:23
Refugees and asylum seekers often have compelling stories to tell but for many reasons remain silent. At a special Refugee Week Speakers’ Series event hosted by Settlement Services International (SSI), a panel of writers with refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds and experience will discuss the role storytelling plays in giving voice to this marginalised sector of society.
SSI is a leading not-for-profit organisation that provides a range of services in humanitarian settlement, accommodation, asylum seeker assistance, foster care and disability support in NSW. SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said the reasons why refugees and asylum seekers chose not to tell their stories were a challenge.
“Sometimes their stories are misappropriated or simply ignored,” she said, “and they often have reasons to fear that speaking out will further endanger them or their loved ones.
“With most media now published online, comments by refugees and asylum seekers are easily found by their persecutors in their countries of origin. This can have dire consequences for them if they are returned, or for their family members who remain there.
“But it is important that we explore ways to make refugees and asylum seekers feel safe, understood and respected in telling their stories. Sharing life stories should foster empathy and help society better understand the circumstances people have endured.”
The SSI Refugee Week Speakers’ Series event on Tuesday, June 17, will feature talks from three writers.