On World Refugee Day 2017, the United Nations Refugee Agency calls on people around the world to commemorate the ‘strength, courage and perseverance’ of the millions of refugees currently displaced. ‘I’ve met so many who have lost much,’ UN Secretary-General António Guterres says. ‘But they never lose their dreams for their children or their desire to better our world. They ask for little in return—only our support in their time of greatest need.’
Since Federation, Australia has welcomed over 780,000 refugees and, over generations, humanitarian migrants have made huge contributions to the nation’s culture, economy and community. In 2015-16, Australia resettled 13,750 refugees, a small proportion of the displaced population around the world. People seeking asylum are fleeing danger and persecution, and they face complex challenges of social isolation, language barriers and trauma when they arrive in Australia.
The Romero Centre, a program administered by Mercy Community Services, a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy Brisbane Congregation, supports people seeking asylum in Brisbane. It was established in March 2000 by the late Sister Mary de Lourdes Jarrett, who assisted hundreds of families during her time as coordinator. Compassion, respect, welcome and dignity were Sr Mary de Lourdes watchwords.
Today, the Romero Centre provides case coordination services, emergency food and coordination of various supports for accommodation, legal support, trauma counselling, English classes and community events, as well as genuine welcome, to people seeking asylum in Brisbane. You can help support the Romero Centre by small acts, such as making a personal donation, organising a fundraiser, promoting the Centre on Facebook and signing up to the Romero’s newsletter.