How the Asylum Seekers Centre is ‘Finding Freedom’ this Refugee Week

The theme of Refugee Week 2023 is 'finding freedom', so we asked the ASC community what freedom means, when they feel it, and why they fight for it. June 21, 2023

It’s appropriate that the theme for this year’s Refugee Week is ‘Finding Freedom’, as we’re just days away from seeing the final prisoners taken off Nauru after years of detention offshore. Yet, their fight for freedom will continue onshore, as it does for so many asylum seekers faced with uncertainty and minimal support. They fight for the freedom to live comfortably in the community; to fall down and be caught; and to feel fully accepted by this country.

With this in mind, we asked the Asylum Seekers Centre community about freedom: what it means, when they feel it, and why they fight for it. You can watch their responses on our Instagram, or you can read them below.

Reufgee Week 20203 'finding freedom' - what Su, Elliot, and Danielle think
From left to right: Su, Elliot, Danielle

What does freedom mean to you?

“To be free one must be safe, secure and healthy enough to make choices about how you live.” – Danielle, ASC Interim CEO

“Freedom means being able to breathe lightly throughout the day. It also means having internal and external peace that allows you to flourish.” – Elliot, ASC Centre Support Volunteer

“It’s safety. Only safety makes me feel free. Lived experience gives you the potential to fight not only for your own freedom but also for your loved ones and even those who have the same conditions.” – Teyma, formerly supported by the ASC

“Freedom, for me, is safety. Safety to live in alignment with my values. Safety to explore. Safety in my relationships.” – Su, ASC Employment Coordinator

“It’s safety and being able to make choices about your own life with your own free will.”- Jayne, #HomeToBilo organiser, Ruby Come Back band member and ASC supporter

“To live in shelter, with my loved ones around me, but also to live with dignity and a sense of purpose.” – Rachel, musician and ASC fundraiser

When do you feel most free?

“I feel free when I arrive home to a place where I can be with my family, eat my dinner and go to sleep in a warm bed.” – Danielle

“I feel most free when I’m swimming in the ocean and when I’m on my bike on a nice sunny day.” – Su

“When I’m in the mountains, when I’m on the beach, when I listen to music, when I’m with a friend – I feel free.” – Saied, member of the ASC community

“I feel most free playing football, reading a good book or spending time in the ocean.” – Elliot

“I feel free when I do the things I love such as performing. But also simple things like when I leave my house unafraid, without someone else’s permission.” – Jayne

“I feel the most free when I’m in nature, when there’s no one else around and it’s just me and it’s quiet and I don’t have any expectations on me or deadlines to be working towards.” – Rachel

“Hiking gives me the feeling of freedom, serenity and inner peace.” – Teyma

Refugee Week 2023 - what Saied, Rachel, and Jayne think.
From left to right: Saied, Rachel, Jayne

What inspired you to fight for freedom?

“I’m inspired by my friends and colleagues who have had to make impossible choices so that they can be free from persecution.” – Danielle

“I believe that everyone is made in the image of divine and we all deserve freedom.” – Su

“A growing awareness of the plight of refugees and asylum seekers around the world, and especially the difficulties they encounter finding the hospitality, welcome and support that they need in our own country” – Rachel

“I don’t think it’s a fight. I want to make the world better.” – Saied

“A concern for human rights and the ability to help people to reside permanently in this country that we’re fortunate enough to call home.” – Elliot

“Seeing how our government treats asylum seekers and seeing it with people I know first hand… I recognise that I am a person of great privilege, so it’s my responsibility and want to use that to advocate for others who are fighting everyday for freedom and safety. They are humans first and asylum seekers second, and they deserve – like all of us do – to live a life of safety and freedom, and they shouldn’t have that taken away from them by Australia too.” – Jayne

“Giving people the feeling of being in their own home – in a friendly and safe environment.” – Thouraya


Find out how you can help people seeking asylum this Refugee Week here.

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