Refugee Week 2023: Finding Freedom

This week is Refugee Week (18-24 June), a national celebration of refugees and a week in which we highlight aspects of the refugee experience to broaden our understanding and acknowledge the resilience that makes up our wider community.

This year’s theme, “Finding Freedom”, provides the opportunity for us to recognise the role we play in working and supporting asylum seekers and refugees to equitable healthcare access.

According to Cambridge Dictionary, the word freedom means:

The condition or right of being able or allowed to do, say, think, etc. whatever you want to, without being controlled or limited.

As we reflect this Refugee Week, we asked some of our people what the word freedom means to them.

Dr Anjali Dhulia, Chief Medical Officer, says, “To me, Freedom means the autonomy to make decisions about my life and feel accepted and comfortable in my own skin.”

Emma Hansen, Clinical Nurse Educator, Victorian Heart Hospital, says, “Freedom to me means being able to walk outside when I want to, to feel the sun on my face and the grass beneath my feet.”

At this week’s Employee Forum, we were joined by Becca Leed, a Refugee Health Nurse Liaison at our Refugee Health and Wellbeing Service and Dr Kumail Jaffry, a Junior Doctor at Casey Hospital, and a former refugee, who both shared their experiences.

Becca is proud to work as part of our team at the Refugee Clinic. Her role includes serving our diverse community across our healthcare network and providing access to healthcare services for those newly arrived.

Her team supports asylum seekers with no access to Medicare and facing huge obstacles while trying to navigate the complexities of our healthcare system.

“We are a service which provides a way for everyone to access healthcare, leading to better health outcomes for all.

“We get to support and contribute to our community’s ongoing physical and psychological safety,” she says.

Dr Jaffry’s experience as a refugee allowed him to develop a passion for advocating for marginalised populations and working to improve the healthcare experience for refugee families.

He recognises the complexities and issues faced by our refugee communities and he considers an important part of his role is to provide support and advice.

In addition to his role at Monash Health, Kumail volunteers as a doctor for different refugee and migrant organisations. He works with these organisations to address systemic issues affecting the health of our refugee populations and works with the communities to empower them.

Refugee Week runs from 18 June to 24 June. You can visit the Refugee Week website to learn more.

Show your support this Refugee Week

You can show your support this Refugee Week by donating tinned tomatoes or small jars of honey to our food drive (to coordinate the food drive across multiple collection points the focus for the Monash Health contribution is tomatoes and honey only thank you). Donations can be dropped at the Refugee Clinic at 122 Thomas Street, Dandenong by the end of the week.

For more information, contact 03 9792 8100 and speak to the Team Leader, Chiezda.

Approved by Andrew Perta, Deputy COO, Monash Aged and Rehabilitation, Kingston Centre, General Manager of Community

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