Greater Geelong celebrates Refugee Week 2022

Monday, 20 June 2022

Today is World Refugee Day, and the City of Greater Geelong is proud to celebrate the day as part of Refugee Week, which runs until Saturday 25th June.

World Refugee Day and Refugee Week aim to educate Australians on the many reasons refugees leave their homes and celebrate their successes in their new countries.

The theme for this year’s Refugee Week is ‘Healing’, which highlights the importance of how we can learn from shared experiences of hardship and heal as a community as we move forward.

During the week, the City will be sharing inspiring stories of community members from refugee backgrounds on the Geelong Australia website and social media platforms.

One of these people is Helen Chernonok, who arrived in Australia from Kyiv two months ago after fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Helen now lives in Jan Juc and is supported by the Ukrainian Community in Geelong and Cultura.

Helen said although her experience has been challenging, she is grateful for the help she has received.

I'm really grateful that I can live here in safety. It’s also a huge change for me because I was successful and independent back home. But here, I have to rely on other people’s kindness.

I live in a beautiful area, by the beach. It really helps me to go to the beach and sit, sometimes for hours, and just watch the waves.

The City of Greater Geelong has been recognised as a ‘Refugee Welcome Zone’ since 2002, and the Multicultural Action Plan Advisory Committee supports and guides Council to deliver inclusive programs and initiatives to our refugee community.

City of Greater Geelong Mayor Cr Peter Murrihy:

Council is dedicated to advocating for refugees and humanitarian arrivals.

As one of the primary settlement areas in Victoria for humanitarian entrants, Greater Geelong welcomes hundreds of refugees every year.

Ongoing conflicts in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and most recently Ukraine have displaced many people, and some of these people now call Geelong home.

The City welcomes all new residents, and we’re here to support you as much as possible.

Another of this year’s projects is a short, animated film, which is a collaboration with Bluebird Foundation, Wellways, Western Victoria PHN, Cultura and the City of Greater Geelong.

The film features the perspectives of young people with refugee backgrounds on what mental health is and how mental health support services can better reach diverse cultural groups.

The group – all from the Geelong region - has used their own words, voices and artworks in the animated film, which has also been translated into Arabic, Dari, Karen, Swahili and Tamil.

The video was prepared under the guidance of local artist Laura Alice and has received an Honourable Mention in the Los Angeles-based One-Reeler Short Film competition.

Multicultural Affairs portfolio chair, Councillor Jim Mason:

Refugee Week provided an essential reminder of the importance of coming together and looking out for one another.

Refugee Week is a time for us all to reflect upon the rich diversity of our region and the wonderful contributions our refugee community bring to the City of Greater Geelong

Council is committed to providing services and programs for these community members, as part of our Multicultural Action Plan – which aims to provide a more inclusive, connected and vibrant community.

To see the video and read all the interviews, visit:

Page last updated: Tuesday, 21 June 2022