Open City Stories are oral histories of asylum seekers residing in Melbourne, Australia. Most of the people featured have arrived by boat, some by plane, and most have spent time in Australian detention centres. They are all awaiting news on the status of their visa applications – whether they will be able to stay, or whether they will be deported. They are not permitted to work until they have had their visas successfully processed. Having received temporary post-detention accommodation, these asylum seekers are now out in the community where they have sourced a place to stay and what food and clothing they can afford.
We met these people when they visited the Darebin Ethnic Communities Council (DECC) ‘Asylum Seeker Welcome Lounge’ in Preston. They agreed to share their stories and we agreed to provide anonymity. Their identities – and subsequently their families – are now protected from possible persecution by authorities both here in Australia and in their native countries.
This blog is an initiative of the Darebin Asylum Seeker Support Project (DASSP) founded by DECC Executive Officer Katarina Brozovic and Chairperson Nalliah Suriyakumaran in partnership with the Darebin City Council. This site has been designed and developed by CC&Co and Twin Brother, two companies lending their support to the welcoming of marginalised people into the community.
We would like to acknowledge that many of these stories take place on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people, and we pay our respect to elders both past and present. We also recognise the strength, resilience and capacity of Aboriginal people, the first Australians.