Dr. June Factor
June is a writer, folklorist and social historian. She believes that Befriend a Child in Detention is a means for compassionate Australians to connect with and speak up for the asylum seeker children and their families whom our government refuses sanctuary and treats with contempt and cruelty. It also offers respect and support to those who have been left nameless, faceless and voiceless.
Emma recently finished her honours thesis on Refugee Policy in Australia after studying a Bachelor of International Studies and Human Rights at Monash University. She is passionate about human rights and is a part of Befriend a Child in Detention because it instills the values of human compassion.
Kiara studied a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours) at RMIT. Through these studies she learned about the effects of trauma on childhood development. Kiara is deeply concerned about the treatment of asylum seeker children and feels it’s the responsibility of the Australian people to show compassion and kindness to the world’s most vulnerable. She believes that the compassion shown through Befriend a Child can alleviate the negative impact of mandatory detention.
Nada is a Child Psychotherapist, Family Therapist, Mental Health Social Worker, (current President, Victorian Child Psychotherapists Association). Nada currently works as a Child and Family Counsellor with Asylum Seeker families. Nada is opposed to detention of asylum seeker children. Nada is concerned that asylum seeker children in detention are at risk of developmental harm as a result of living in deprived environmental conditions known to be damaging to their mental health, growth and development, with the potential to cause long-term damage
Juliette is a lawyer and social worker, and currently a PhD candidate at Latrobe University. Having worked for over twenty years in child and family welfare, she is deeply conscious of the effects of trauma on the lives of children. She is appalled by the Australian Government’s brutal indifference to the impact of detention on child asylum seekers, and their flagrant disregard for human rights, and feels it is important for Australian citizens to make their views known.
Susan works in heritage and history, in museums and community. She believes that the Australian government’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers is cruel, shameful, and unjustified. Susan believes the Befriend a Child in Detention project is important because it lets refugees know they haven’t been abandoned, and that compassionate Australians are working to change their situation.
Gabrielle Wang is a children’s author and illustrator. She believes there are serious concerns with the current policy of holding asylum seekers’ children in detention. Gabi also does the illustrations for our postcards and sells cards to raise funds for the Befriend a Child Project.
Bishop Phillip Huggins
Bishop Huggins is an Anglican Bishop looking after Geelong and the North West Region of Melbourne. He has had a long involvement with refugees both overseas (working for our Church aid and development agency) and onshore, including ten years as Chair of the Brotherhood of St Laurence with its many programs of refugee resettlement and advocacy. He currently Chairs the Anglican Church of Australia’s General Synod Group on refugee issues.
Lisa Leening is a Social Scientist and Educator, who is passionate about empowering young Australians to critically analyse issues of Social Justice. Lisa became a part of this project because she was finding it increasing difficult to sleep at night, worrying about children being detained for seeking asylum. Lisa believes the Befriend a Child in Detention Project gives a voice to people wanting to support children seeking asylum. She looks forward to the time that the Befriend a Child in Detention Project is made redundant
Fiona Wood is an award-winning author of young adult fiction. For eight years she has been a volunteer at Friday Night School – a weekly tutoring program supporting families for whom English is not a first language, many of them refugees. She joined Befriend a Child in Detention because she believes that people seeking asylum in Australia should be treated with respect and compassion.
As a former nurse and teacher, Julie is concerned about the effects of detention on the health and welfare of all asylum seekers. She has particular concern for the children in detention and looks forward to their early release.
Catrina studied Development and International Studies at the University of Melbourne and works in Mental Health and Disability. Having seen the devastating effects of chronic mental illness Catrina feels strongly about ending the arbitrary and indefinite detention of people seeking asylum in favour of more humane, community focused solutions.
Harold Zwier has a keen interest in social justice issues and the way in which political debate shapes government policies and community attitudes. While the political aspects of social justice have fuelled his past activity in this area, he has become increasingly aware that hands on activities directed towards helping people in need are inextricably linked to the politics of change. Befriend a Child in Detention(BCD) has a primary aim of directly helping asylum seeker and refugee children and encourages people in our community to join in. But it also tackles the political end of this issue by engaging with politicians and lobbying for improved attitudes, improved assistance and improved policies. Harold is also very impressed with the intelligence, enthusiasm, thoughtfullness and enormous creativity of all the people involved with BCD.
Sarah studied Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania and is now completing postgraduate studies in Public Policy at RMIT University. Sarah believes that the Befriend a Child in Detention program allows compassionate Australians an opportunity to show their support for asylum seeker children and their families. Sarah hopes the program will work to raise awareness in the community and create lasting links between asylum seekers and Australians.