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Caritas Just Leadership Day

On Tuesday 17 June 2014, 10 De La Salle College students from Years 10 to 12 travelled to St. Monica’s College in Epping to participate in the Caritas Just Leadership Day. To coincide with Refugee Week, the event explored the topic of asylum seekers and refugees, looking at how they have been treated and how we should be acting on the issue.

We were seated with several other schools also taking part, and during the day we heard from eight people who offered various pieces of information and insight into what has been happening to refugees who attempt to find safety in Australia. These experts spoke about some of the harrowing experiences that individuals and families are being subjected to right now in detention centres.

The most touching part of the day was when three refugees shared their stories with us. Hearing first‐hand accounts of people who came from countries such as Burma and Ethiopia put a human face to the many stories of refugees we hear about in the media. We realised that beyond the injustices faced by asylum seekers in detention centres, they have all risked their lives to travel from their home; a country in which they would like to live, but cannot. In an ideal world, everyone would live in their home country, but it’s a tragedy that so many cannot, and that they are faced with such challenges even when they manage to escape.

One of the main messages we took away from the day was that it’s up to us to bring change to how Australia is currently managing and handling Asylum Seekers. As a school group we discussed ways to raise funds and awareness for the issue, and we will take these ideas with us as we move forward.

By Raphael Canty, Year 11F

Click here to watch a thought provoking clip produced by Caritas about the Just Leadership program.