Refugee Welcome March in London, September 2016. © Marie-Anne Ventoura/Amnesty International

Amnesty International Australia talks to Wonthaggi resident, Sylvia Davey, about the wonders of sponsoring a refugee family

As part of the My New Neighbour series of events celebrating the stories of refugees welcomed into communities across Australia, Amnesty International will be talking to Sylvia Davey, whose sponsorship of a Burmese family more than 10 years ago transformed her life.

The event will be held at the Warragul Library on November 6, between 6pm and 7pm.

Sylvia will be talking with Amnesty International Australia’s Shankar Kasynathan, about her friendship with Mua Hsay who, at the age of 15, stepped on a landmine as she and her family fled from the army. After more than 15 years in a refugee camp, Mua, her husband and two small children finally made it to Wonthaggi on the Bass Coast following their sponsorship by Sylvia and her husband. Today, Mua’s husband works in the local abattoir, her eldest is a trainee chef and her youngest is finishing Year 11.

Sylvia says she wanted to sponsor a family because she felt “guilty” for being so lucky to grow up and live in a country like Australia. She says the experience has changed her life and out of it has grown a wonderful friendship.

Amnesty’s My New Neighbour campaign highlights the efforts of so many neighbourhoods and communities that have provided a safe way for refugees to rebuild their lives in Australia.

“We believe that by shining a light on these communities and mobilising more groups to follow suit, we will send a strong message to the Government that Australians want to help and that the existing Community Sponsorship Program (CSP) which places an unnecessary financial and administrative strain on these communities needs to be reformed,” Kasynathan said.

The event will be held at the Warragul Library on November 6, between 6pm and 7pm.