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Refugee Week

Welcome to the West

The West is Australia’s home of welcoming communities.

Since the Second World War, waves of migrants and refugees have arrived and settled in Footscray. Initially coming from Europe and the Americas to find a better life, by 1966 almost a third of the local population was born overseas. By the 1980s the area became the prime for the settlement of refugees, particularly from Indochina, the Middle East and Central and South America. More recent arrivals include people from the Horn of Africa and the former Republic of Yugoslavia.

The migrant and refugee population now spreads far and wide across Melbourne’s west to bring vibrancy to Sunshine, Caroline Springs Melton, Werribee and all the suburbs in between.

The Western Bulldogs Football Club (formerly the Footscray Football Club) has been here for over 140 years and recognises and celebrates the cultural diversity of the west, creating a sense of belonging and community.

 

Welcome to the West: Refugee Week Intercultural Panel Discussion

Thursday 18th June

4.30pm – 5.15pm

Melbourne’s West is known as Australia’s home of welcoming communities.  The Western Bulldogs are not only here for fans of football, but also to welcome new friends and contribute to the West’s pride in creating a sense of belonging and community.

To celebrate Refugee Week, we invite you to join a free online panel event where we will discuss how the role of sport can assist with the settlement of newly arrived people and enhancing social cohesion.

Guest panellists include Western Bulldogs AFL player, Buku Khamis, CEO of Centre for Multicultural Youth, Carmel Guerra and past participant of Daughters of the West and Community Foundation volunteer, Quyen Tran.  

Register for free here

Carmel Guerra OAM

Carmel Guerra is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) based in Victoria.  CMY has worked in partnership with sporting and recreation sector for many years and recognised as a national leader on multicultural sports engagement.  Carmel has over 30 years’ experience in the community sector and has long recognised the role sport can play in the settlement of newly arrived young people and enhancing social cohesion.  Carmel has worked across different sports including, AFL, Netball, Basketball, Rugby, Soccer and Surf Life Saving.  Carmel is Chairperson of the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN), the national peak body representing multicultural youth issues in Australia and sits on numerous boards and committees including the Youth Parole Board of Victoria, the Victorian Children’s Council, the Migration Council of Australia and the SBS Advisory Committee.  Carmel’s contribution and service to multicultural youth is widely respected. She was awarded the Victorian Premier’s Award for Community Harmony in 2015 and a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2016.

Buku Khamis

Buku Khamis became the Club's first Next Generation Academy recruit, added to the Club's playing list as a pre-selected rookie in November 2018. A relatively late bloomer in a football sense, Khamis, a refugee from South Sudan, moved to Australia in 2006 with his family and took up AFL in his last year of primary school. He is a product of the Dogs’ Next Generation Academy and was a participant in the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation’s Ready SETTLE Go program. The athletic defender has the ability to take on the game with his impressive running ability and possesses clean skills. He is a strong intercept mark and reads the flight of the ball well. Khamis represented Vic Metro and was awarded All-Australian selection in 2018. In his first season at the Kennel, Khamis made 18 VFL appearances for the Footscray Bulldogs, however, did not breakthrough for an AFL debut.

Quyen Tran

Quyen Tran arrived in Australia from Vietnam under refugee’s visa in the last wave of “boat people” as she refers to.  She escaped from the communist country because there was no future for her, it was suppressed, there was corruption, no human rights and she had no freedom for anything even schooling.  Quyen’s escape journey was very dangerous and difficult. Quyen said that “people in circumstances like hers would rather die in the sea (if they don’t make it) than live in communist shackles”.

Shemsyia is 1 of 18,000 people who have participated in the Western Bulldogs Settlement Program for new immigrants and refugees   

00:00 Mins
Published on

Real Strength | Shemsyia's Story

The first instalment for the Club's Real Strength series, discover the story of Shemsyia and her journey to a better life as she came to Australia - learning not only the language but also the cultural love of sport.

Published on

Find out more about the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation Ready Settle Program here

 

Reuben William is not your average athlete

Born in South Sudan and arriving in Australia via a Kenya refugee camp, William’s heart was always with his community, and when what’s become known as the ‘African Gangs Crisis’ began dominating the nightly news bulletins, the young Queenslander knew his place was in the western suburbs of Melbourne where he could, hopefully, make his mark.

04:05 Mins
Published on

Real Strength | In Search of Harmony

Ahead of the first ever Harmony Round, Footscray's Reuben William opens up on how the 'African gangs crisis' inspired him to move to Melbourne and join the Bulldogs in the latest instalment of the 'Real Strength' series.

Published on

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Western Bulldogs acknowledge that we reside on traditional lands of the Kulin Nation. We offer our respect to the Elders of these traditional lands, and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples past, present and emerging.