A Harmony Week movie fundraiser will donate proceeds to the Bundaberg Friends for Refugees Group and their mission of bringing a refugee family to the region for settlement.
The Bundaberg Regional Council movie night will be on at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre on Saturday 25 March and will showcase the documentary, Rosemary's Way.
The film follows Rosemary Kariuki and one of the groups of vulnerable migrant women of suburban Sydney whose lives she helps transform from isolation to connection.
Pre-screening will also welcome some of the region’s local migrant community to speak about their culture and life as a migrant in Australia.
Lorraine Chipangura said she was looking forward to sharing her story about her journey from Zimbabwe to Bundaberg.
“It’s nice for people to have an understanding about a migrant person’s life and journey and what they go through,” Lorraine said.
“My story is different because I came as a student not as someone looking for work.
“I came alone as well, not with a family to support me, so I had to create my own community.”
Lorraine left Zimbabwe in 2003 to study a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Geelong where she majored in accounting and e-commerce.
She got a job straight out of university and after getting her Permanent Residence, she decided to stay and lived mostly in Victoria and then Perth.
Lorraine moved to Bundaberg in 2015 to join her husband who works as a pharmacist.
“It was so funny because we just got off the plane from our wedding in Zim straight to Bundy and I’d never even been here before,” Lorraine said.
“At first it was a bit isolating because I didn’t know anyone, but we met people through church and the people here are nice.
“I’ve mostly lived in smaller towns in Australia and see myself as a country girl, so Bundaberg was a good fit.
“There’s a big African community here too which makes a big difference.”
While she said being so far away from family has been her biggest challenge, Lorraine has felt more at home since having her own children who are now three and four years old.
“All my family are back in Zim so that’s hard especially with Covid,” she said.
“But this is a beautiful place to raise kids, so I don’t think we’ll be leaving here anytime soon!”
Council's community services portfolio spokesperson Cr Tracey McPhee said Harmony Week was all about recognising diversity and bringing together Australians from all different backgrounds.
She said the movie fundraiser was a great opportunity to get together as a community and hear stories of residents from all walks of life.
“Harmony Week is about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone,” Cr McPhee said.
“The movie fundraiser is not only an opportunity to find out more about the challenges that some of those in our community face but is also a chance to reflect on how we can come together in support.
“Attending this event will help to transform our understanding of our local migrant community while encouraging some greater connections.”
Fundraiser for Friends for Refugees
Raffles on the night will help to fundraise for local organisation, Friends of the Refugees, which has been working to move a mother and her two children from Iran to Bundaberg.
In the short five months since establishing Bundaberg Friends of Refugees, the group of 13 locals has gained momentum and recently announced they will welcome their first refugee family to the region in April.
Friends of Refugees’ Geoff Brennan said the group had followed the guidelines of the Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot (CRISP), which was announced by the Australian Government in December 2021.
CRISP is a new settlement program and under the program, refugee visa holders receive settlement support directly from trained community groups, called Community Supporter Groups (CSGs).
The aim is achieving optimal settlement outcomes with the help of community members who want to help refugees settle into life in Australia.
A total of 1500 refugees will be settled through CRISP up until 30 June 2025.
Geoff said the refugee family relocating to Bundaberg would be the 21st family to find a new home in Australia through the program, and the local community should be very pleased to know it made this a possibility.
“I think this is an exciting thing, it will be a challenge, but I know our group will surround them and be up for the task,” Geoff said.
“I want the whole of Bundaberg to be wildly, wildly excited and to welcome them.”
Rosemary's Way event details:
When 25 March, 4 pm
Cost: $12 per ticket
Where: Moncrieff Entertainment Centre