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World Refugee Day #WithRefugees

World Vision
19 June 2018 by Angus Smith
World Refugee Day #WithRefugees


Wednesday 20 June 2018 is World Refugee Day

‘To see a World in a grain of sand,
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.’ – 
Auguries of Innocence

These words by William Blake will be projected on the big screen at Melbourne’s Federation Square this Wednesday 20 June as part of World Refugee Day 2018.

The poem is part warning, that the mistreatment of nature and people has consequences. It’s also part revelation, that the beauty of nature and the universe can be found in small things.

On World Refugee Day, we will commemorate the perseverance and show support for the millions of families forced to flee around the globe. During the day, Blake’s words will be juxtaposed with images of three small legumes, painted with miniature images of children who have been displaced from their home.

The children are three of the 68.5 million displaced people seeking safety around the globe – the highest number in recorded history. For this artwork, the medium is the message: tiny sustenance is a matter of life and death for those who need it.

World Refugee Week runs from Sunday 17 June to Saturday 23 June 2018. #WithRefugees is the theme this year. A list of all refugee week events around Australia can be found here.

World Vision will hold its official Refugee Week celebration at Melbourne’s Federation Square. Join World Vision and partners to celebrate the survival, resilience and determination of refugees on World Refugee Day.

Hear from people who have been forced to flee their country as well as World Vision Humanitarian Aid workers. Join our collective actions on the day, together we can make a difference!



On the Big Screen: Real stories from people World Vision are working with in Refugee Settlements around the world, including from South Sudan, Myanmar and Syria.


SisterWorks Pop-up shop – your chance to buy unique, ethical and sustainable products that support women of refugee, asylum seeker and migrant backgrounds.


World Vision explains how, why, where and when we work with refugees to make sure they can be safe and free. Includes two former refugees sharing their personal stories.


Roghayeh Sadeghi aka Rocky

Our first speaker is Rocky, a 15-year-old student born in Afghanistan. A strong Muslim girl, she came to Australia as a refugee with her mother and nine siblings in 2012. She is in Year 10, and plans on going on to study law. Her dream is to be a human rights lawyer. Rocky is an advocate for diversity, inclusion, equality and the rights of the LGBTQI+ community, as well as, being a role model for the Muslim community. She is committed to working towards a world free from bullying, racism, sexism and discrimination of all forms. Being a young and a passionate speaker, she hopes to inspire others to have resilience and make their dreams come true.

Innocent Karabagega

Innocent is our second speaker. He is a 25-year-old father of two, husband, brother, friend, employee and law student. Innocent has an indomitable spirit and an overwhelming desire to give back to Australia, the country he now calls home. Innocent dreams of his future – as well as working for the United Nations as a human rights lawyer, he wants to set up medical centres in his home country, Burundi, for those infected with HIV. More importantly, Innocent wants to educate Australian youth about the experience of being a refugee to inspire and motivate them to make the most out of every opportunity that they are given.


2.30pm – 3.00pm

The Travellers will be performing live at our Fed Square Refugee Day Celebration in Federation Square around 2:30pm.

The Travellers have been creating and playing music together since they were children. Born in a refugee camp to South Sudanese parents, Clement and Angelo came to Australia as young boys. Starting off as buskers at Southern Cross Train station, The Travellers have now recorded their first original material and are engaged in appearances at schools, corporate and community events and festivals across Melbourne. They recently appeared in front of thousands at the Justice Conference and live on local radio on both RRR and the ABC.

Other ways to get involved

Join the 40 Hour Famine Backpack Challenge and take a stand for young refugees around the world. You’ll unite with thousands of other Australians to lead global change by raising funds for young people who’ve been forced to flee their homes. Take up the challenge and commit to living out of your backpack with only essentials for 40 hours.

Globally there are 68.5 million refugee and displaced people – and more than half are children. By joining the 40HF Backpack Challenge movement, you’ll connect with four of these young people and begin to understand what it’s like to leave almost everything behind. Be a voice for change for Lilias, Obada, Jubaida and Rhoda.

The Backpack Challenge runs from 17-19 August 2018. You can find out more here:


Cover image: a picture on a lentil of a child displaced from his home and now receiving emergency food through World Vision. 

The artwork is one of a series of three created by Lorraine Loots, a South African artist who creates miniature paintings. They have been painted as a one-of-a-kind project to promote World Vision’s Big Impact Appeal. Her extraordinary work will be auctioned online to raise funds and awareness for the appeal, a partnership with a United Nations World Food Programme, where donations provide up to 10 times their original value in food assistance. 

The auction of Loots’ artwork runs until 30 June 2018.


Angus Smith Angus Smith

Angus is a freelance journalist and Multimedia and Public Affairs Officer at World Vision Australia.


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