Since 2012, Road to Refuge has been on a mission to change the conversation on seeking refuge and asylum in Australia. We provide a platform to amplify the voices and perspectives of those with lived experience of seeking asylum.
We work with people of refugee backgrounds to reclaim the mainstream discourse about them and reshape it – in their words and on their terms.
We do not speak on behalf of others. Instead, our role is to amplify voices and position stories of lived experience to ensure credible voices are given the platforms they need.
Where we came from
We’ve run comedy debates, Wheeler Centre speaking panels on the intersectionality between seeking refuge and feminism, and the plight of LGBT refugees, conversation training workshops, book clubs, film nights, and Paths to Change – a full-day conference for the refugee sector.
Many people remember us for the Coffee Cup Project. In it’s third year, the project saw over 100,000 coffee cups featuring Layla, whose story highlights the strength, courage and complexities of people seeking refuge.
In 2017, we partnered with Australia’s leading social justice law firm, Maurice Blackburn, to bring Stories About Hope to Melbourne and Sydney. The exhibition explores the human dignity identity and strength in people from refugee backgrounds through photography and short films.
In 2018, we launched our biggest campaign to date. Meet Fadak is a storytelling campaign which aimed to create a cultural shift and humanise refugees. Meet Fadak was Australia’s first refugee-led national speaking tour.
In My Own Words program
In My Own Words is our flagship program. It is a storytelling and capacity-building program designed to give young creatives of refugee backgrounds the skills they need to shape their story and have it heard on their terms.
In My Own Words is the brainchild of our program director, Jeanine Hourani. Jeanine was born stateless and inherited refugee status from her Palestinian father. Growing up in the post-9/11 era, she kept her background a secret.
“I was 20 years old when I first started talking about how I came to Australia and how I came to be an Australian. By talking about my background and sharing my experiences, I could see an immediate shift in people’s perceptions of refugees. This made me feel powerful!
“It made me wish I had told my story earlier… if only I had had the skills, confidence and support I needed to do so. I started the In My Own Words program to inspire the next generation of refugee storytellers to realise the power of their stories.”