A beautiful world-first initiative will ensure children who are new arrivals to our country are not forgotten when welcome packs are handed out.
The packs are given to every refugee or migrant family when they first arrive in Australia filled with important information for parents, but nothing for their kids.
This month, Behind the News is launching The BtN Welcome Book, which aims to change this and they’ve called on children around Australia to help.
In conjunction with non-partisan not-for-profit group Welcome to Australia, they are creating a book full of colourful and heartfelt welcome messages, pictures and tips written by the kids of Australia to be included in the welcome packs.
Behind the News series producer Nathan Bazley says, regardless of the circumstances, moving to a new country to live is tough.
“If BtN, with the help of school kids around the country, can ease that transition for thousands of refugee and migrant children, it can only be a good thing for our country,” Nathan says.
“With the help of partner organisation Welcome to Australia we’d love to see this program continue for many years to come.”
Here’s a video explaining the thoughtful project.
Welcome to Australia chief executive officer Mohammad Al-Khafaji says a small gesture of kindness can make all the difference.
“When I arrived to Australia in 2003 as a refugee, we had the most dignified warm welcome any family could ask for. I found a beautiful picture with the message ‘welcome’ in our house,” Mohammad says.
“That small act of kindness brought tears to my eyes as a 13 year old and that message was the most powerful gesture to welcome us to our new country.”
“I believe that hearts and minds will change through these small acts of kindness; that it will transform generations of young Australians when they take positive action to challenge stereotypes about refugees and migrants.
“There’s something incredibly powerful about receiving a message of welcome from someone who you’ve never met, who cares about you and your journey to Australia.”
Projects like this are a wonderful and inclusive way to welcome people looking for a fresh start in Australia.
Others such as The Piano Project, giving young refugees the chance to learn and be healed by music, are also making a difference.
We would love to hear about any other initiatives you know of that are embracing new arrivals.