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Peace Week highlights plight of refugees

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Peace Week highlights plight of refugees

The annual Peace Week held at the Albany campus last week highlighted the plight of international and domestic refugees.

Organised each year by the Massey University chaplains, Peace Week is designed to get people talking about peace initiatives and what peace means to them.

There are 52 million displaced people in the world, 50 per cent of those are children and many of them have little power over their situation. If refugees were a country they’d be the 26th largest country in the world — equivalent to Colombia.

Chaplain Jill Shaw organised a suitcase sculpture to bring attention to this issue and was delighted by the reaction from staff and students.

Ms Shaw says the sculpture located near Student Central symbolises many of the different people who become refugees.

“They are still grandparents, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.”

Before fleeing their homes, many refugees were highly educated and talented professionals, many of whom ran businesses, had lovely homes and didn’t ask for the circumstances that made them leave their homeland, Ms Shaw says.

“We want people to be aware of the plight of refugees and to understand that refugees aren’t just from overseas – think of those people displaced after the Christchurch earthquakes. We can show compassion to those who need it.“

“The message is - we can do better than tolerance. We can choose respectful curiosity, and a society that celebrates diversity,”

ENDS

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