Tha Dah Shay was just ten years old when she arrived with her family in Tasmania from a refugee camp in Thailand. Her parents fled Burma/Myanmar in 2000 due to conflict in the country. Now she is working at Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania (MRC Tas) to support others and to share her experience to generate greater awareness and understanding in the community,
“My parents fled from Burma to refugee camps in neighbouring Thailand. Life in refugee camps is difficult and uncertain. As refugees we were not allowed to go outside the camp and could be arrested by Thai police if caught.” Tha Dah Shay said.
“I have always been passionate about helping those in need, and the work I do at MRC Tas makes me feel complete.”
Refugee Week takes place between the 19th and 25th of June, and celebrates the contribution of refugees to Australia, highlights aspects of the refugee experience, and encourages a better understanding between communities.
On Monday the 20th of June, Tha Dah Shay visited Mount Nelson Primary School to share her lived experience to support grade 4/5 students in their learning during Refugee Week. Students were able to hear firsthand what it is like to be a displaced person and had an opportunity to ask questions.
Christie Speight, teacher at Mount Nelson Primary School, said it is important for students to acknowledge and learn about Refugee Week so that they can demonstrate empathy to those from a refugee background when they join the Tasmanian community,
“We want to enable those from a refugee background to support themselves in their new country, celebrate the cultural contributions made by people from refugee backgrounds, educate our students about refugees and encourage empathy in our community,” Ms Speight said.
To highlight Refugee Week, students at Mount Nelson Primary School also held a fundraiser to raise important funds towards the work of the Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania.
Gillian Long, CEO of MRC Tas, said the organisation is grateful for the efforts of many Tasmanian schools and organisations that are holding Refugee Week fundraisers to raise funds to support the work of MRC Tas, including Mount Nelson Primary School and The Friend’s School,
“Our mission is to support and encourage culturally diverse community members to reach their potential. Many of our clients face challenges as they settle into a new community and our capacity to provide assistance where it’s needed most is greatly enriched by the generous financial support of others.”
Funds from donors are used to provide resources, activities, and opportunities which we would otherwise be unable to provide,” Ms Long said.
MRC Tas provides a range of specialised support services to assist people from refugee and migrant backgrounds to settle and live fulfilling lives in Tasmania.
Jonty, a student in Ms Speight’s class, thanked Tha Da Shay for coming to speak to the class, “We hope the money we have raised is helpful for the MRC to support people with a refugee background in our local community.”
To donate, please visit www.mrctas.org.au/donate/
For training enquiries, please visit https://mrctas.org.au/training/
Refugee Week Resource Pack for Schools
MRC Tas has made a Refugee Week Resource Pack for schools. Download it here