Well, finally its here! Woggle Box.
What is a Woggle Box, you ask? Well, before we get to that let’s look at why we need one. Most of us have heard of Goggle Box, where a bunch of people, supposedly representing a cross-section of society watch the goggle box, that is the television, as it is colloquially known and make commentary. Well, Woggle Box is about watching wogs or migrants on a screen, without making commentary but hopefully learning something in the process.
Woggle Box is an anti-racism project, initiated by the Forum on Australia’s Islamic Relations, FAIR. It aims to humanise Australians who came here as refugees, from adverse situations and who have made Australia their home and worked to succeed in their work, business or studies.
We meet Shabnam who came here when she was 15 years old, fleeing war-torn Afghanistan and after settling in South East Melbourne, besides finishing her degree in neuroscience, she has earned a black belt in Karate and has won many tournaments representing Australia.
There is Abdul, an older refugee who has made Australia home after fleeing Pakistan, he established the All-nations cricket team which helps young refugees follow their dreams of playing cricket.
Also featured is Yong, a South Sudanese refugee who works as a clinical pharmacist and established a youth support program for South Sudanese youth. “My first impression of Australia was the juicy Hungry Jacks burgers I tried when I first arrived in Melbourne,” Yong recalls.
Shabnam’s recollections are different, “When I first arrived I thought big country, big cities and this was what I expected to see in Australia, then we drove about 50 minutes out of the city and I saw farms and animals and I looked at my mother and said, is this a scam, are we still in Australia?”
Woggle Box, also breaks down misconceptions about different religions. You can ask Sheikh Abu Hamza questions about Islam, or Rabbi Gutnick about Judaism and Sikh mentor Amar Singh anything about Sikhism. Woggle Box currently features these three religions and will add Hinduism, Christianity and Buddhism in the near future.
But as I said, it is an anti-racism project and while we humanise refugees through the telling of their own stories, we also have the opportunity to play an animated interactive game called “Race Against Racism”, which tests your own ideas about racism or a woggler can take a survey and “Rate your own Racism”.
There are more sections that introduce us to “Nation Builders”, such as the Afghan cameleers and to migrants who came to Australia post White Australia Policy. There’s a lot to navigate around.
Physically, the Woggle Box, is about the size of a photo booth and inside one can watch all those things mentioned above. The Woggle Box will be displayed at Dandenong Library during the summer school holidays then move to Geelong Library, with more libraries to be booked.
It is suited to any age, any gender and any ethnicity. So hopefully, it will come to a library near you soon!
For more information go to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/534332307163545/