Zahra Hashimi and Hannah Belesky from the Toowoomba Refugee and Migrant Support are aware of the growing migrant population in our neighbouring city.
Zahra Hashimi and Hannah Belesky from the Toowoomba Refugee and Migrant Support are aware of the growing migrant population in our neighbouring city. Kevin Farmer

Warwick 'ready' to accept refugee overflow from Toowoomba

THE cultural complexion Warwick could be on the brink of change, and one woman thinks our town is ready.

Southern Downs Refugee and Migrant Network executive member Fiori Cruz said there had been a lot of talk about accepting refugees into our town, and it could become a reality.

As Toowoomba's large refugee population continues to grow, Mrs Cruz said support networks would look to Warwick to house and employee refugees.

"In Toowoomba they are running out of jobs for refugees so hopefully we can have an overflow here with so many new jobs coming."

Mrs Cruz said it was an exciting prospect for Warwick and the foundations for a multicultural community were strong.

"Warwick is such a lovely place and people are so kind and welcoming," she said.

 

Herself a migrant, Fiori Cruz (right) has a passion for wroking with refugees.
Herself a migrant, Fiori Cruz (right) has a passion for wroking with refugees. Nicole Zurcas

While refugees are often highly skilled and have much to offer to the community, Mrs Cruz said a traumatic migration experience could harm their self-confidence.

Herself a migrant from the Philippines, Mrs Cruz knows the struggles of moving across borders all too well.

"They have great potential but they have lost trust and self-respect from the trauma they had been through in the their countries," she said.

"I knew if I was in that situation I could be so scared I would not want to go out of the house."

Refugees often cross multiple borders, spend prolonged periods in detention and suffer the trauma of family sepration and uncertainty accoring to Mrs Cruz, who has worked with refugees since the late 1990s.

Her passion for helping Queensland's refugee population began volunteering Multicultural Development Association in Brisbane.

She said language and conversation classes could help build a sense of confidence and capability among those who felt they were starting from scratch.

The prospect of welcoming refugees to Warwick comes as the town celebrated multicultural week.

 

Job opportunities in Warwick could support skilled refugees and migrants who can't find employment in Toowoomba.
Job opportunities in Warwick could support skilled refugees and migrants who can't find employment in Toowoomba. Kevin Farmer

Southern Downs Refugee and Migrant Network is hosting a picnic and lawn bowls at Southern Cross Bowls Club, where everyone in the community is welcome to bond over an Aussie tradition.

"Bring a bowl and have a bowl" is the theme of the day, which will kick off at 11am on Saturday, June 23.

Mrs Cruz said the enthusiasm for multicultural events showed a willingness among the Warwick community to accept refugees.

"We have been talking about it a lot and I think it would be a good thing for Warwick."

She said events like the multicultural picnic would help the community prepare.

"Somewhere along the lines people are migrants in some way or another and this is a good chance to get to know each other to share food and culture."


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