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Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

Come down, watch a movie and be part of changing a Syrian family’s life Tuesday, 31st October at the Playhouse.

Armidale Sanctuary is inviting the entire community to show their support and take a journey through someone else’s eyes.

“We will be showing the documentary ‘Captains of Za’atari’, which is about two Syrian boys in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, and its about their desires to become professional football players,” said Jeff Siegel, President Armidale Sanctuary Humanitarian Settlement.

“It’s got great reviews such as in the Guardian and 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.”

Showing at 6pm, the film is the launch of the community groups Issa Family Appeal, raising funds to bring the family to Armidale through the Government’s new Community Settlements and Refugee Pilot Program.

“The Issa Family fled the civil war in Syria, like so many others did, and because of that war Tony Abbott, when he was Prime Minster, promised to bring 12 thousand refugees to Australia,”

“Unfortunately, this family didn’t make it in that group and they fled to Lebanon where they have been refugees since 2012, trying to find settlement in another country.” said Jeff.

“The family consists of the parents, mother and father, and five kids, ageing from 5 years old to 14 years old.”

Armidale Sanctuary has been instrumental in helping refugees settle in the New England region and having started 20 years ago they have helped change the lives of over 60 people already.

“We used to try and sponsor refugees for humanitarian visas, but after 2009 we didn’t have any successful applications as the Government was only giving visas to people with connections in Australia, so we were knocked back application after application.” said Jeff.

“Luckily, the Government has set up a new sponsorship scheme called Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot Program (CRISP) and this is for communities to sponsor refugees, and these refugees who are sponsored are recommended by the UNHCR and they have no other connections to Australia.”

“What has been happening is the refugees who have some kind of connections, either a family member or something, they are the one who are getting the humanitarian visas but in this CRISP program people who have been waiting and do not have close ties now have a chance to come to Australia.”

Only two years into the newly formed CRISP Program, Armidale Sanctuary is eager to get back to their roots with their successful application with the Issa Family.

However, while life changing it is very costly, and the program relies solely on community support to be a success.

“We take the responsibility of settling that family into Armidale.” said Jeff.

“We have to find them housing, arrange banking, and setting them up with Australian services and getting the kids in school and parents into TAFE, and we have to pay for their upkeep for a few weeks until they can receive a payment, and we are responsible for them for a year.”

“Which is why we are raising funds, as it is quite costly to get them settled and everything they need from clothes to a fridge and all that.”

The Issa Family will make their way to Armidale on the 23rd of November, their new place to call home.

“It will be wonderful for this family, for our group and for Armidale to have more people come from different backgrounds and live in our community.” said Jeff.

Event details

Everyone is invited for the screening of the film ‘Captains of Za’artri’
6pm
Tuesday 31st October 2023
The Playhouse
$20 tickets at the door and donations are welcome