Mathilda Ho is our first guest speaker of the day. She is the founder of Advocates for Refugees – Singapore, a Facebook group which also aims to bring awareness to the issue of refugees. She founded the group after speaking to a Rohingya person, asking what she could do to help. His response was three words long:
Share our stories.
After establishing the group, Mathilda faced the issue of a lack of knowledge within the public
they have this very skewed perception of what refugees are
Highlighting the AFR-SG aims and views:
There was a refugee camp in Singapore for just under two decades, for Vietnamese refugees between 1978 and 1996. She says that many former refugees have “fond memories of the camp”. It had classrooms, separate rooms for prayers and provision stalls
“in comparison to refugee camps that were around at the time, this camp in Singapore was one of the most humane of the time”
Mathilda has also gone to:
- Jordan (Mafraq) to distribute hygiene packs, visiting 9 of 10 camps in the region which are close to the Syria-Jordan border. There, refugees are not allowed to leave the camp and a woman told Mathilda “we have not had anyone to visit us for a year”. They also brought kites for the children, some of whom have been living in the camp since the end of 2012, approaching five years.
- Aceh in Indonesia
- and more
If you think they (refugees) are really far away, they aren’t.
If anyone is interested in the Facebook group, you can find it here.