Her personal experience of being in a refugee family who fled from Iran provided the inspiration for Samira Ahmadi’s winning entry in a poster competition run as part of SA Refugee Week last month.
The Year 10 student from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College said the design was her way of showing her empathy and compassion towards others fleeing war-torn countries in the Middle East.
Upsetting images and news in the media had made Samira think about the experience of people travelling to a new country via sea and she hoped her poster relayed the message to these refugees that she cares about them.
As a further show of support, Samira is planning on donating her $150 prize money to the mosque she attends so it can be used to help others.
OLSH College principal Maria Urbano said the college was “absolutely delighted” with Samira’s win in the secondary schools section of the competition and also acknowledged the guidance of Visual Arts Learning Area coordinator Tiffany Beasley.
Two other students from the college also made the list of finalists.
Samira’s winning poster will travel around Australia for the next 12 months as part of an exhibition raising awareness in the community about refugees.
More than 100 organisations in South Australia joined together during Refugee Week to present about 60 events that centred around World Refugee Day on June 20. The week of activities celebrated the valuable contribution of refugees to Australia’s cultural, social and economic development and highlighted the reasons people become refugees.
Leaders of Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) who were gathered for their national assembly in Brisbane during Refugee Week, also spoke out for ‘the need to belong’. They called on political leaders of all parties to arrive at a multi-partisan solution that put ‘morality, justice and human values’ at the heart of legislation and political decisions for asylum seekers and refugees.
They said they were deeply troubled by the government’s decision to end Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) for several thousand asylum seekers on bridging visas.
“To remain passive and silent in the face of the injustice we are witnessing at this time would be contrary to the values we hold as Australians, and as Christians,” said Sr Ruth Durick, the outgoing president of CRA.
“There is a strong belief that we are impelled to stand in solidarity with people in need, those who are victims of all kinds of abuse under these laws, and to work alongside political, church and community organisations to address this current crisis.
“We did it before when we welcomed thousands of refugees from post-war Europe, Vietnam, East Timor, El Salvador, Bosnia and many other countries. We can do it again.”
An exhibition featuring the entries from the Refugee Week poster competition is open until July 10 at the Kerry Packer Civic Gallery, Hawke Building,
University of SA, 55 North Tce, Adelaide.