The TrailL was recently launched in Sydney by CultureVision to share stories ‘from adversity to diversity’ and bringing their whole true self and myriad aspect of their identities to the audience by sharing their vision for Australia.

The rhetoric around refugees and people seeking asylum have been toxic in Australian politics and has dominated the tabloid media for years now, where we are constantly given a narrative of dependency and unappreciative opportunists taking our jobs and relying on our taxpayer-funded social welfare.

Speakers at the Launch of The Trail.

But, this proposition cannot be any further from the truth. Refugees and people seeking asylum add value to the social and economic fabric of our society.

Creating jobs, starting businesses and opportunities and constantly attempting to find a way to showcase their skills, make them one cohort who are undeniably invested in Australia.

The problem arises out of the sheer desperation of political parties to use the ‘refugee issue’ for political point scoring,  to win votes and string a cord with the right wing masses who are anti-immigration altogether.

It’s a multi-layered issue. On one hand, we have the lack of political will and /or commitment to meet our international obligations, abide by our own legal frameworks of humane treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum and accord to any moral high ground.

On the other hand, resettled refugees are busy building their lives and dealing with the trauma inflicted on them in the process of resettlement and seeking asylum.

With such dichotomy, we get a disjointed and broken system whereby the odds are once again stacked against the refugees and people seeking asylum to counter any misleading and/or dog-whistling narrative. In such a system, those with power have the only avenue in framing the messaging and narrative around refugees.

Refugees are yet again left in a “fight” or “flight” situation to either attempt to provide a counter-narrative, for which they will need to lobby, campaign and struggle to attain any, if at all, traction. The alternative is to remove themselves from the issues and completely surrender the platform to those more powerful.

Unfortunately, the latter is often more preferred as providing a counter-narrative is tiring, unfeasible for an already traumatised cohort of people and it regurgitates trauma of their precious life, making it a serious psychological and mental wellbeing issue.

In light of such disparity, it is upon accomplished former refugees to take action and provide a counter-narrative. As such, we are fortunate to have launched a TED-inspired, speakers series called “The Trail”, whereby, refugees and asylum seekers share their stories of resilience, tenacity and hard work. They share their journey to Australia, what they’ve done whilst here and how their ideas of change for the future.

CultureVision (Australia) Pty Ltd, aims to create a more inclusive, authentic, connected and more sustainable Australia where everyone thrives. It aims to connect Australia’s cultural and linguistic diversity in one platform.

Our project is needed for the above reasons and more. It’s vital to tell those stories less heard. And, to provide the multidimensional identities “refugees” have. It is about creating equal opportunities and sharing it with the wider group of Australians. It’s about making room for another valuable member of our society.

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