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Saturday 22 June - 2 to 5pm - Warringah Mall Library

Stories of the Northern Beaches –  ‘Books’ required for Refugee Week Human Library

Council is calling for community volunteers from a refugee background to become ‘Human Books’ for a day.

To celebrate Refugee Week (16 to 22 June), Council is hosting a Human Library on Saturday 22 June at Warringah Mall Library featuring real people going ‘on loan’ to the public to share stories as ‘Human Books’ about their experiences of settling in Australia.

If you are from a refugee or humanitarian settlement background and reside on the Northern Beaches, and am interested in connecting with local people who would like to hear your settlement story – please fill in the form below.

Expressions of interest close 31 May.

For more information, contact Sandra Faase on 9976 1562.

Book in as a ‘reader’

The event aims to challenge stereotypes and recognise the great contributions refugees make to our community

To have a conversation with a ‘human book’ at the Refugee Week Human Library, please call Sandra Faase on 9976 1562 or email communitydevelopment@northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au

Book 'titles'

Book 'titles' are being confirmed. Keep an eye out here for more 'titles'...

An’s story: Tears on the Page

Background: Vietnamese, French

The ground shook as rockets rained down from the sky. The smell of smoke and dust filled the air. Terrified and bewildered, I clung tightly to my father’s neck. My family and I scrambled with other refugees into the dark, hollow belly of a recently landed Chinook helicopter. My heart raced inside my chest as if I were running, running, running. The body odor and sweat of scores of people, pressed together in the helicopter, filled the air. Fear, most assuredly, has a smell. My tiny, clammy, four year old hand continued to grip my dad’s hand with the intensity and strength of someone much older. No one spoke, cried or even whimpered. We were waiting; expecting that at any second the helicopter would be blown to pieces by a Communist rocket. Glimpsing out the small, round windows of the Chinook, I saw bright, orange flashes punctuate the horizon as Communist rockets and mortars continued to blast Saigon. Large, black plumes of smoke, all around the city, from burning houses, cars, and buildings rose up into the night sky. Saigon, the beautiful city of my childhood, the place I believed to be peaceful and held all my earliest memories, had become total chaos; a place of panic, terror, confusion and war.

Koko’s story: Generations of Dispossession

Background: Armenian – Armenia, Syria and Lebanon

My journey to Australia began in the 1970s. I was 18 and my family were granted humanitarian visas to flee the civil war in Lebanon. However, being dispossessed from our home is a common theme in my family. From life in Aintab Armenia, now known as Gaziantep in Turkey, to seeking safety in Syria and Lebanon and finally settling in Australia. My family fled genocide, persecution and war to find a peaceful life in Australia. My story is one of many Armenian stories about survival. But there is more to me than that. My life in Australia has had times of tragedy, heartbreak and challenges, but I have had a great life here and have no regrets.