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Council advocates for Rohingya refugees

Council advocates for Rohingya refugees Rohingya asylum seeker, Mohammad Rauf, says he’s blessed to be living in Australia, after fleeing the violence and poverty in Myanmar. No  

Rohingya asylum seeker, Mohammad Rauf, says he’s blessed to be living in Australia, after fleeing the violence and poverty in Myanmar.

"I am really happy to live with my family in Australia. Australia is wonderful - one of the best democratic countries in the world," Mr Rauf said.

"Arkan (Rakhine State), where I’m from, is like the world’s biggest open prison. Its citizens are like prisoners, they suffer a lot.

"Homes, markets, shops, mosques and schools have been burned and hundreds of men, women, children and the elderly have died."

After escaping Myanmar in 1984, Mr Rauf made his way to Pakistan, then Saudi Arabia, before eventually settling in Lakemba in 2014.

"This country is open and free, and we are all allowed to study and have Medicare, a job, and plenty of food without war and poverty. I am so grateful to be living here," he said.

Wanting to give the same opportunity to other Rohingya refugees, who have also fled Myanmar, Mr Rauf founded the Arakan Rohingya Development Association – Australia Inc.

"The group focuses on helping Rohingya refugees adapt to the Australian way of life," he said.

"We help them get a job, access study, teach them English and provide sporting and other activities for women and children."

The group meets every Sunday at 2pm at either the association’s office at 14 Railway Parade, Lakemba, or at the City of Canterbury Bankstown’s Emerging Communities Resource Centre in Lakemba.

Mayor, Khal Asfour, has called on the Australian Government to do more for the Rohingya refugees.

"As the Mayor of a refugee welcoming city, I have written to the Government requesting a clear pathway be established for the settlement of Rohingya asylum seekers in Australia," Mayor Asfour said.

"I have also requested an update on what humanitarian aid we are providing to help these starving refugees.

"In the meantime, I am encouraging people to follow Council’s lead and donate money to reputable welfare organisations who are providing food and drinking water."


 1/11/2017 1:22 PM