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Workshop gives refugees a chance to tell their story


The Salvation Army’s refugee storytelling workshops will offer a safe space to explore life experiences and learn how to share them with others.


By KIRRALEE NICOLLE

With Refugee Week placing a spotlight on those living as refugees and asylum seekers in Australia, The Salvation Army is offering training for those from refugee backgrounds to share their experiences.


The Tell Your Story Training program will be held from 18 July until 17 September over Tuesday night Zoom sessions and a weekend in-person workshop at the Stanmore House facility in Stanmore, Sydney. The program is the brainchild of The Salvation Army Intercultural and Disability Inclusion Team. The training is set to be trauma-informed and culturally safe, with counsellors with lived experience in attendance.


Cynthia Gunawan, Refugees and People Seeking Asylum Lead, said the training sought to empower Salvos from refugee backgrounds to use their voice to encourage others who were still on the journey of trying to gain permanency in Australia.


“Telling a story is not easy, and refugee [stories are] very complex,” she said. “This training will really help people to tell their stories well. They can use their story as a personal testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness in their life.”


Cynthia said that many still held an unconscious bias or negative perception towards those living as refugees or seeking asylum in some parts of the wider community. She said there were brothers and sisters within The Salvation Army who, with the right training, could draw on personal experience to educate and inform the Church.


“Even within the Church, there’s still [an] incorrect understanding of who a refugee is, and so these ambassadors can help rectify that in a real way,” she said.


Additional to the storytelling workshops, the Intercultural and Disability Inclusion Team is also running a Refugee Week Webinar tonight (Tuesday 20 June) to which all are invited.

The event is set to offer information and updates on the current refugee situation in Australia, personal stories and an opportunity to pray for those living as refugees and/or seeking asylum. To find out more, visit https://salvationarmy.typeform.com/to/EIqhiHfw.


There will also be an in-person ecumenical gathering to pray during Refugee Week tomorrow (Wednesday 21 June) at 7pm at the Fairfield Salvation Army in Sydney. See the flyer for details.

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