Community EngagementMaroondah

The refugee experience: a celebration of culture

By June 21, 2008No Comments

This afternoon EV’s Youth Centre in Croydon hosted a presentation facilitated by the Migrant Information Centre and the Blackburn Language School to celebrate the Burmese culture introduced by refugees from the Chin, Karen and Zomi communities.

Democracy in Burma ended in 1962 and while elections were held in 1990 the results were not recognised by the ruling military junta which continued its grip on power. Burma is comprised of several ethnic groups many of whom have suffered immensely under the military regime.

Today’s presentation provided an opportunity to learn about Burmese culture, through traditional costumes, songs and dance and to hear first-hand the stories of migration from students at the Blackburn English Language School and the Migrant Information Centre.

Many of the refugees spoke about the pain and repression experienced at their homes in Burma and the difficulties in fleeing their homeland. Escaping Burma was not the end of their difficulties, with many of the speakers also discussing the hardship they experienced in countries such as Thailand or Malaysia or refugee camps.

Refugees and their families have escaped to Australia to start a better life. As a community it is imperative that we welcome these refugees so that they can partake in the many opportunities that exist within this country. Council through the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committee, has recently established a working group to further improve the delivery of services to newly arrived migrants and refugees to assist them with their lives in Australia.

Alex Makin

Alex Makin

Alex Makin is a councillor for the Mullum Ward in the City of Maroondah. Alex has been a councillor since 2005, representing ratepayers, businesses, community groups and residents. I aim to continue making a difference and welcome any thoughts you may have in regard to life, community and business in Maroondah. Phone: (03) 9870 8202 or 0408 311 645 Email:

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