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SHC hosts refugee forum


A group of students from Sacred Heart College took their passion for equality and community outreach to the next level in August by hosting a local youth refugee forum.

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Led by the Somerton Park college’s youth minister Maddy Forde and Justice for Refugees SA, the evening attracted representatives from Sacred Heart, Marymount and Cardijn colleges, as well as youth groups Antioch, Marist Youth Ministry and Mercy Links, the South Australian branch of Amnesty International and Katrine Hildyard MP.

“The idea of the event came about from talking about issues we thought were prominent in our society, and what we’d like to educate ourselves on,” said Maddy.

“Whether it’s through volunteering, signing petitions, writing to their local member of parliament or even talking to friends about the issue, it’s about creating a ripple effect and making people aware.”

Sarah and Cassie at the social justice forum.

Allowing refugees to voice their experiences and feelings first-hand was a highlight for Sacred Heart Year 12 students Leila Petruzzella and Aisling McCorry Jenkinson.

“I was able to gain a new understanding of the overall journey of a refugee, specifically the conditions of the boats and detention centres people are placed in,” said Leila.

“It was eye-opening and encouraged me to go further in pathways to spreading equality and justice within Australia,” said Ailsing.

“I think it’s so important for students and young adults to see they aren’t alone in advocating for justice, and as a community we can make a significant impact.


“Support Justice for Refugees SA by liking them on Facebook and seeing what they are getting involved in, signing a petition, writing a letter to a local member of parliament. By targeting them, there’s a possibility we can make a difference.”

Maddy hopes that representatives from schools and youth groups across the Archdiocese can come together annually to continue the tradition and expand the discussion and action to other social injustices.


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