Finding Freedom At Core to 2024 Refugee’s Week

Join us in celebrating this year’s Refugee Week. Focusing on the theme of Finding Freedom: Family, this year’s celebration aims to raise awareness and recognise the resilience and strength shown by refugees. It also aims to highlight the critical role familial connections play in supporting people to settle and feel like they belong in a new country.

Many refugees come from countries where war and persecution are a daily reality. Sadly, many refugees wait for years to have an opportunity to find such freedoms in a new home. The Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot program (CRISP) offers a supported pathway of settlement for refugee families or individuals.

By empowering local community groups of everyday Australians to walk with a refugee family or individual, CRISP is building togetherness, friendships, and love between refugee newcomers and Australian communities. Ashfield Parish Social Justice Group is one of the great success stories where friendship and solidarity have created a new home for a mum and her three school-aged children. Even though many challenges arose, the group was able to help them settle into their new house and new lives, taking every small step as a success of their resilience.

“From securing housing to the excitement of finding local schools for the children, the group was thrilled to hear that ‘the 15-year-old had successfully caught the train and bus to his new school on his own—a super achievement after only two weeks in the country and with no prior English’,” shared Anne Nesbitt, a volunteer at Catholic Mission in charge of the CRISP Program. “The family is settling in and enjoying many freedoms we take for granted: a house with more than two rooms, attending church on Sunday, walking in safe neighbourhoods, heating in a cold Australian autumn, joining a soccer team, celebrating their first Easter in Australia with their ‘Australian family’, and having fun in parks and sunshine.”

In 2024, Catholic Mission is promoting CRISP and offers support to Church communities: parishes, schools, social justice groups, who would like to form a group and welcome a refugee household. This program is an excellent way to build nourishing and welcoming communities and put faith into action.

CRISP empowers local community groups, of 5 or more members, to support newcomers to settle and integrate by providing social, material, and practical support. Members are provided training and support, and ways to connect with other groups and share experiences. The Australian government selects refugees who have no familial connections in Australia and matches them with a group based on needs and resources.

If you would like to know more about how you can become part of this life-giving program, please contact Anne Nesbitt: