A face to the word

Refugees Richard and Riya are pictured with the Social Foundry's Bec McDonald and students from Our Lady of the Rosary.

Young people in Kyneton got the opportunity to put a face to the word ‘refugee’ and hear first-hand of their experience during a special schools visit last Tuesday for Refugee Week.
Kyneton’s Social Foundry brought with them Malaysian-born Richard and Riya, who now live in the Bendigo region and have pending refugee status in Australia.
Simon Burnett, co-founder of the Social Foundry, explained the not-for-profit social enterprise asked their two friends to join them at Kyneton Secondary College and Our Lady of the Rosary Parish Primary School, where they were interviewed and asked questions by the students.
“Social Foundry has a heart to want to grow community and the way that we do that is through mentoring young people in work skills and life skills,” Mr Burnett said.
“One of the ways we try to help them see the wider world that we live in is to get them to look at the more complex challenges of this world.
“One of those things is refugeeism and our sense of place and community.”
Mr Burnett said the students enthusiastically engaged in the conversation and asked Richard and Riya deep questions.
“Most (questions) were around the personal challenges and tensions they face every single day,” he said.
“The students’ questions allowed them to enter into the very challenging aspect of seeking asylum, and to see the real challenge that we as a country have in developing healthy policy.”
The Social Foundry also runs a Feast of Stories series in partnership with Macedon Ranges Shire Council, which involves conversations and stories over a meal to greater understand and encourage ethnic diversity and multiculturalism in our community.
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