Doctor and activist

House of Welcome is a group that helps refugees.

19 June 2016

The House of Welcome had a fundraising dinner in North Sydney Community Centre tonight that I attended. Great food cooked by refugees in a variety of national recipes, with folk singing and dancing.

The House of Welcome started from people who were visiting detainees at Villawood Detention Centre and then became aware that they were being let out the gate with $10 and no benefits.  The continuing support evolved and they now have 26 properties and 96 people housed.  They feed a lot of people, trying to get food banks food with mainly ingredients so that the refugees can cook themselves.  They also help with CVs to get jobs and setting up small businesses selling crafts or food at fairs, or home careering for entertainment.

North Sydney Community Centre staff came in and helped free, and have done so for some years.  It is great and gutsy stuff, but I could not help thinking that in the 1950s, Australia took hundreds of thousands of post-war refugees and had programmes for them.  Now we have expensive deterrence programmes, and the arrivals have no welfare or Medicare.  The House of Welcome is doing a great job- I just wonder why the government is doing so little.  Australia should do better.

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Arthur Chesterfield-Evans

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