27 September 2023

New kids’ book to help growing refugees

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An inspirational children’s book about a refugee child migrating to Australia with their family has been commissioned to help disadvantaged refugees including domestic violence victim-survivors access some legal help.

The book, ‘The Ribbon’ was commissioned by Legal Aid NSW’s Refugee Service during Refugee Week last week to educate refugee communities about the free legal assistance available in NSW through Legal Aid NSW.

Created by Lost in Books Fairfield, the book was officially launched this week to mark Refugee Week 2023.

Legal Aid NSW’s Refugee Service Community Engagement Officer, Nohara Odicho commissioned the book after noticing many refugee women not attending information sessions to ask questions about issues like separation and family and domestic violence

“Many refugee women – particularly domestic violence victim-survivors – want to access legal help but are too scared of being found out to take resources at outreach sessions or public events,” Ms Odicho she said.

“This book is about empowering refugees with the legal resources they need to get help while also educating them and their children about the support available,” she said.

She said a bilingual tale available in Arabic, Dari, Burmese and Swahili, uses the analogy of a tight ribbon to help children understand the emotions associated with moving to a new country.

It is a story of hope with one powerful message:

We are not alone. For the heavy
knots we feel, there are special
hands that can try to untie them.

Ms Odicho said feedback on the book has been positive, with many families taking it and later calling Legal Aid NSW’s Refugee Service with legal questions.

“The Refugee Service helps with problems like immigration, housing, discrimination, harassment, problems with Family and Community Services and domestic and family violence,” she said.

The book was written by Assyrian-Australian writer Monikka Eliah and illustrations were designed by refugee and illustrator Hussein Nabeel.

Legal Aid NSW CEO Monique Hitter said legal education resources – particularly in different languages – were essential to ensure access to justice for people in the most disadvantaged of circumstances.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to provide educational resources to disadvantaged communities about the legal support that is available in NSW,” Ms Hitter said.

Over the past two and a half years, the service has provided almost 4,500 legal services to newly arrived refugees.

A digital free copy of the 32-page book can be accessed on the PS News link.

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