A film titled The Staging Post will be screened in Bega as part of Refugee Week.
Australian documentary maker and director of the film Joylon Hoff was living in Jakarta when the Australian Government reported it had “stopped the boats”.
He had never met a refugee, so he went to the staging post for boats travelling to Christmas Island because he wanted to know to who they were, where they came from and what they were going to do. It was there he met two Afghan Hazara refugees, Muzafar Ali and Khadim Dai.
Stuck in Indonesia after Australia “stopped the boats” and facing many years in limbo, these two men built a community and started a school that inspired a refugee education revolution.
There are now around 1500 refugees learning at over 10 refugee-managed learning centres in Indonesia.
“Rumi says ‘Where there are ruins, there is a chance to find treasures’,” Mr Ali said.
“When we became refugees, we found those treasures.
“We couldn’t expect to have met the people we did and had the opportunities that we have had.
“The school acted like a magnet. It connected us with many people. They were waiting for refugees to do something and then they accompanied us.”
Before Mr Ali was forced to leave Afghanistan he worked for the United Nations in the country, supporting the disbandment of illegal armed groups and promoting human rights.
He said he and his family have since been welcomed in Australia. His wife has nearly finished her second year at university, his daughter is happy making friends at school and his mother has said she is having the “best days of her life”.
“The film is helping us to tell the story to Australians and we love the deep human and personal connections it has created and is still creating,” Mr Hoff said.
“Every screening is full of emotion and togetherness. I love watching the audiences connect with the film, and be inspired by my friends’ courage.”
The Staging Post will be screened on June 22 from 6pm at Funhouse Studio, Bega, attended by Mr Hoff and Mr Ali. Entry is $10 or $20 for a family ticket. If you would like dinner RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All proceeds will go to Bega Valley Rural Australians for Refugees.