I was asked recently to share my experience of volunteering. And it led me to this post.
I have never been politically active. I was always happy to stay in my lane.
But when the Government cut Support Services to people who had no country, no home, traumatised by conflict and persecution, my heart broke.
So when the opportunity to participate in a campaign and advocacy fellowship with a national refugee organisation came up, I took it.
It has been an extremely practical learning and volunteering experience.
They had us organising street stalls where we signed people up to their petition and platform for change. We organised community meetings to find like-minded volunteers who would do the same.
It was outside my comfort zone, but I felt I had to do something. Someone had to do something.
I knew it was going to be hard work. And I went in expecting rejection from an apathetic public.
What I didn’t expect was the encouragement from strangers who quietly thought the same as us. They gave me hope. In people. In this country. In my own personal faith in God.
Yes, it is frustrating and painful when we hear of policies that hurt so many people seeking refuge. Many of us know, and have seen with our own eyes, their devastating impact.
But I found there are a lot of good people too. Kind people who are willing to support and welcome some of the most vulnerable people on this planet.
Internationally, I am encouraged by stories quiet defiance and generosity too.
When so many South Koreans were losing their minds over 500 Yemeni refugees seeking asylum on Jeju Island, one artist opened her studio to them.
It was an act of courage in a highly communal culture.
It also led to South Korea’s first Yemeni restaurant. A restaurant that serves up more than food. It is helping break down barriers and provides these people with a living.
Closer to home, I recently went to a community meeting to see how we too could help people seeking protection.
There, at the back of a church hall, were members of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian community, united in their common desire to serve people who had been devastated by war and persecution. Their show of solidarity was encouraging.
This fellowship is only going to last six months. But I think my involvement with this grass-roots movement will continue.
And we are always happy to have more people join us! If not practically, then in spirit.