15 Henley Rd
(PO Box 2219)
Ph: (02) 8762 4200
Fx: (02) 8762 4220
Int'l Ph: +61 2 8762 4200
Int'l Fx: +61 2 8762 4220
Located just 100 metres to the south of Flemington Railway Station. Link to new location on Google Maps
5 Abingdon St
(Postal: 84 Park Rd)
Ph 1: (07) 3103 7376
Ph 2: (02) 8090 1976
Fax: (02) 8762 4220
- please call for appt
Editorial: Farewell Homebush; Volunteer's make a differece; stories from volunteers; Eco-youth forum.
Editorial – FAREWELL HOMEBUSH
After 7 years it is time for the Edmund Rice Centre to move on from Homebush. The two cottages in Underwood Road and the backyard under the flight-path have served us well, and have been witness to some wonderful times. There are any number of highlights. Like the Christmas Party 2003 when we farewelled Julian McDonald and broke the drought. Then there’s the number of Let’s Talk groups and immersion visitors that have gathered out the back – ranging from Zambian Chiefs to representatives of the Indigenous Brazilian Land Rights movement to American uni students to volunteers and interns from Ireland, Switzerland, USA, UK, East Timor, the Horn of Africa, and the Middle East. Then there were David Ervine’s reflections on Australia “I can smell racism, it doesn’t grow wild in a field, it’s tended in a window box”. And none of us can ever forget Bruno Verwee from Belgium via County Wicklow getting out of a cab and declaring, “I have come to volunteer at your Centre for one year”. And he did! Importantly, Underwood Road has been a gathering place for Indigenous people and also for refugees and asylum seekers. In short, Homebush has been a place of relationships, a place where the bruises that are part of the deal in the struggle for social justice could be healed with heart, hope and humour. We are forever indebted to Mohammed Barkatullah and his wife Rubina who have been both our landlords and our friends. The support of the Christian Brothers has been essential to the operation of the place and the people in it. Ultimately, it is the people that count. As Jeffrey Pereira former Head of Caritas Bangladesh used to say regularly, ‘let us build the people, and the people will do the rest’ . Vale Homebush and thanks. Here’s to Croydon, may the building, in a new building, continue.
Volunteers Make A Difference
As we say Goodbye to the Edmund Rice Centre ( ERC ) at Homebush in June (2005) I would like to reflect upon the enormous impact that volunteers, both local and international, have meant in the development of ERC over the past 7 years since setting up at Homebush. We have been lucky to have had interns from the US , Ireland (& Northern Ireland ), Switzerland , Belgium and Columbia . We have also had many students from universities and TAFEs around Australia and local people interested in justice issues in Sydney .
Following the publication of the Just Comment series in 2001 of Debunking the Myths about Asylum Seekers we had a great public response from people from all walks of life interested in supporting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. Not all came to ERC but many people at this time got involved in the broader advocacy campaign that we have been a part of, and that we are now seeing impact upon government policy. Our initial work focused on Indigenous rights and many people have remained concerned about the lack of recognition in Australia for Indigenous rights since 1996. Volunteers have continued to work for research projects and publications that have brought greater awareness to the public of these and many other issues. The message is that if you are passionate about social justice and human rights issues stand up and support organisations that are struggling to raise justice issues for an increasingly concerned public. Organisations such as ERC don’t always have the resources to host large numbers of volunteers but if you have an idea about how you can support this work don’t be afraid to discuss your interests with available staff. Without volunteers organisations would be much more limited in what they are able to achieve and we at ERC hope to have many more people supporting our work when we move to Croydon.
Thank you to all those volunteers and interns who have given their time, enthusiasm, inspiration and energy. We could not have done it without you!
I am currently studying Community Services at Northern Beaches TAFE, and was lucky enough to gain a placement at ERC . I started the Diploma course in 2004 as a way of expanding my skills in working with people with an intellectual disability. I was soon to broaden my focus on this as I became more aware of social issues. I had no idea of what the ERC was or did at this stage, but was very impressed with what I found when I attended an organisational visit .
I instantly felt welcome and a part of the team here at Homebush, and continually gain recognition and feedback on the contributions I make. There is so much insight to gain just from sitting down and chatting with people in the lunch room as every member has a particular field of interest. When asked what it is that we do out here at the Edmund Rice Centre, I reply “well to put it simply they are a group of intelligent and informed people that recognise the inequalities in today’s society, and aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in”.
Since gaining placement at ERC in 2005 I have been involved in various environmental and social justice issues that were not only interesting to me but were current and topical. I have been able to share with friends and students the knowledge I have gained on these topics in the hope of changing people’s perceptions about minority groups in our society. I have also been able to inform them of the impact we have on our environment through the choices we make, and how we can lessen the detrimental effect we have on the earth.
I still have a lot more time here this year, and intend to get as much out of it as possible but already it has been a great learning experience that will influence my way of thinking long after I have left.
I am a student from Wisconsin who has studied in Sydney for a semester. As part of my program, I had the great opportunity to work as an intern in an Australian organisation during my short stay in Australia . With my interests and background my advisors placed me with the Edmund Rice Centre in Sydney .
It couldn’t have worked out better. Coming into the internship I wasn’t sure what to expect having never worked with a social justice group before. I was, however, able to slowly submerse myself in the activities of the organisation. I was involved in many different projects covering many different topics. I have learned a lot about issues of inequality, some I have understood in the past and some that I have never considered to be something that would affect me.
The internship has opened my eyes to the problems faced daily by millions of people not only in local communities in Australia , but also all over the world. It has amazed me, the number of people responding to justice and the effort being put forth to make a difference everywhere.
I would like to thank everyone at the Edmund Rice Centre for the warm welcome I received and the heartfelt goodbye. This experience has been more than I expected and more than I had hoped for. Everyone at the ERC is dedicated and caring, always showing support and compassion. I am going to miss the family I have been apart of at the ERC and looking forward to the time when I will see everyone again. Thank you all for being such an important part of my life.
The Eco-Youth Forum – Three different views
An all day environment forum for young people aged between 16 and 27was held at the Granville Youth Centre on Sunday 22 May. The forum brought together young people from around the area (plus some travellers from the North Shore , inner city and the Blue Mountains ) who shared an interest in protecting the earth and wanted to explore approaches to this goal. While most of the attendees already had a strong interest in environmental issues, the forum was a good opportunity for people with that common interest to share diverse skills for their own experience and according to their own unique approaches to environmental justice. The workshops, therefore, covered subjects ranging from 'How to start your own food co-op' to 'singing to the earth'. The event was also made special by the fact that it was organized by a committee comprised of young people (including two school students) with the supervision (facilitation really) of Jill Finnane , The partnership between the Edmund Rice Centre, Parramatta Council and Students of Sustainability gave this forum a wonderful blend of youth dynamism and experiential wisdom with a vision to spreading the message to the mainstream community. Whilst the forum was attended mostly by people who were not new to environmental issues, it has essentially set up an inspired network in the area. The network is already looking at strategies to make caring for the environment accessible to the mainstream whilst maintaining their own individual committed approaches. There is evidence that this forum will go beyond the network. The use of non-disposable plates, cups and cutlery, for example, inspired some teachers in attendance to try to avoid disposable cups for their extra curricular activities at school. There is also talk of tapping into some recycling made easy programs offered by VISY to help NGOs and schools conduct their day to day business in a more earth friendly way. And an organic food co-op in the area is sounding like a real possibility… This convergence of mostly young people passionate about the environment and possessing varied and integrated approaches to tackling environmental problems is a promising sign for environmental awareness and action in Sydney 's interior.
2. The youth environmental forum held at Granville was a day of learning and new beginnings for all who came on the day. Topics including worm composting and food co-ops gave people a new understanding of simple yet vital elements that can help sustain our living more ecologically.
The aim of this forum was to inspire an environmental conscience with those who were newcomers to these issues and to provide a contact network for people to find support from each other in their new and ongoing endeavours.
The youth forum gave organisers a chance to understand the current issues and environmental understandings within the local area and hopefully influence it in some way.
Our hopes are for those who attended the forum to have gained a new understanding, an new interest, and a new friendship within the group. Our next forum will hopefully bring together more people from all parts of Sydney to share thoughts, ideas and to learn new things about our most essential resource, the environment.
Through my placement at The Edmund Rice Centre I was lucky enough to meet and be involved as a helper in the setting up of a youth environment forum. The forum was organised by a group of young people dedicated to the protection and care of the environment. I believe that it was because of this dedication that the day was so successful, the guest speakers were passionate and inspiring informing participants of what they had done within their communities and what we could do in ours to provide a more sustainable future.
Personally for me, I have started to use my own bags when shopping, and am constantly reaching into the bin at home to pull out items that can be composted, it’s a bit dirty but I see it as a sacrifice to the greater good. I hope that more forums stem as a result of this day and think that the organisers of the day should be proud of what they have achieved, it was no mean feat, and took a lot of time and effort.
I would just like to say thanks for allowing me to take part in the forum as I gained a lot of useful information and was inspired by the group of people that attended.
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Fact-sheets on key issues:
ERC initiative the Pacific Calling Partnership promotes awareness of the devastating effects of climate change on low-lying island communities of the Pacific. The PCP campaign goes beyond both the science and the spin to make evident 'the human face of climate change'.
Update: ERC Director, Phil Glendenning, recently returned to Australia from Afghanistan after 10 days interviewing returned asylum seekers again in Kabul.
ERC is redoubling our efforts to find a third-country resettlement option for those returnees from Australia with whom we have been able to make contact. We need financial support to achieve this.
Such work uncovers high levels of risk for the deportees (and for our researchers). Research publications are available here.
Listen to Phil speak of the visit to ABC Radio National's Phillip Adams.
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