In early August at the Whitlam Institute in Rydalmere, an exhibition of a refugee camp located in a poor area was displayed. The exhibition was geared up as a camp where refugees were waiting their turn to be accepted by a country and then transported to their new home.

Or they were just waiting for a people-smuggler to transport them to a place like Christmas Island in Australia. And that wait could be anything between 10 weeks and 10 years . . .

Unlike Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney where meals and a bed were provided, they had no guarantee of a bed, food or even water. Everything was rationed.

Some of them who had money were able to buy things, but they were in the minority. The conditions in camps like this were atrocious in every respect.

Food rations for 1 week.

The exhibition in Rydalmere began with a fenced entrance where a ‘guard’ greeted everyone in a very harsh manner. “Put your bag aside and remove your hat!” he screamed.

The tension was immediately felt by everyone coming in. It gave you the feeling of what it would be like in a 3rd World camp.

The experience, called Refugee Camp in my Neighbourhood, followed the footsteps of refugees and people seeking asylum via a simulated experience. We all gained a better understanding of the challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers.

Various stories were also relayed to us about these people fleeing their own countries and seeking safety and better lives.

UNHCR office in camp.

Amongst the various displays were:
1) The UNHCR office in the camp
2) An invitation for refugees to state what 5 things they could be allowed
3) Box minimal rations for one week
4) A make-shift toilet
5) An experience on a people smuggler’s boat

People wanting more information about Refugee Camp in my Neighbourhood  should contact refugeecampimn@gmail.com

Toilet in camp.

5 Choices.