Why Are They Here?

January 2015 - The refugee debate divides Australia, although many have never met a refugee.  We know that ignorance, fear and hate breed in the shadow of isolation.   At the same time, contact and familiarity have the power to break down racial prejudice and allow tolerance to blossom.  The recent attack in the Lindt Cafe in the centre of Sydney followed shortly by the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, have not helped the plight of many of the Muslim refugees.  This year, 2015, I will be using photography as an apparatus for change, introducing some of our Sudanese Refugees to the general republic through their stories and my images.  My only hope is that through these stories and images, some hearts will soften.  This will help create a society where we view our differences as strengths, as opposed to weaknesses.  I have been fortunate to have spent  time with many of the Sudanese refugee women over the past four years at the St. Bahkita Refugee Centre in Homebush.  Their strength and stamina never ceases to amaze me…and their courage and hope shines through when one listens to them sing a song of gratefulness to Australia for welcoming them.