Sarah Cowan, well known Batemans Bay singer/songwriter wants help to assist a refugee family in Kenya reach safety. “Sarah’s Gift - Music and Mayhem Spectacular” will be a fantastic night of music, games, a silent auction, raffles and fun at the Moruya RSL Hall on 7 September from 6.30 pm. Music from Sarah’s sacred cow, Sam Fletcher, St Peter’s Anglican College Blues Band and Driving Sideways. Sarah is facing a life threatening illness and helping this family is top of her bucket list.
This is the story as told by Sarah:
I first met Aden and Fardowsa, and their three children on line. Aden had been in refugee camps for 21 years - since he was just a small child, a victim of a nightmarish massacre in his Somali village. His parents were murdered in front of him. Fardowsa had escaped the horror of an arranged marriage and torture. The family had been on the resettlement list for eight years but had not progressed, even though they had refugee status from UNHCR. Some African nations are incredibly corrupt and the systems are not what we would like to believe. There is no queue. There is very little hope.
Aden's and Fardowsa's stories are heartbreaking, traumatic and conflict laden and I felt compelled to help in any way I could. I was scared, particularly for the children, and with every new announcement of ration cuts and threats of camp closures I became more and more concerned. There are currently 250,000 refugees in the Dadaab camp in Kenya and again the Kenyan government is threatening to close the camp and "repatriate" the refugees - back to where they fled from, mostly war torn or drought affected African nations. For most people this will simply be a death sentence.
I started by fixing their letters of introduction and pleas for resettlement, then I sent a huge package which never arrived. I wrote to many Canadian, Swedish and British resettlement programs but they are already bursting at the seams with applicants. Australia is not taking Somali refugees. In the end, the only thing I could do was send money on a semi regular basis. At least I knew there was food and medicine for them.
We helped Abdukafi become mobile after rickets affected his development, by purchasing a walker and some physiotherapy. We have helped get them mosquito nets, new floors and a new roof for their shanty. We have helped with school fees and doctor visits. But this is just a band aid, what they really need is resettlement. Independence. A home. Somewhere safe where assault, theft and rape are not a constant threat. But in order to even register in any program to expedite the resettlement process they must travel, and travel costs money. Aden can't leave Fardowsa and the children alone while he travels to Nairobi as they are not safe, even in the camp, so they must all travel together and this is expensive when they have nothing.
Above: Abdukafi standing tall
It will be a year in September since I was first diagnosed with stage 4 NSCC cancer. I have had a lot of treatment, some quite brutal with many side effects, but I have attempted to keep squeezing in a life between appointments. I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by an incredibly supportive family and solid gold friends. I have had a really amazing life and I have done most things that I wanted so my bucket list is incredibly short: to see this family safely resettled. This fundraiser is Refugee Action Collective's gift to me, and my gift to Aden, Fardowsa, Suleiman, Halimo and Abdukafi.
Sarah's Gift Music & Mayhem Spectacular will be a fantastic night of music, games, a silent auction, raffles and fun. It will be at the Moruya RSL Hall on Sept 7th at 6.30. Bring a plate to share, BYOG, and have a fun night while you help out one small family. Be entertained by the incredible Sam Fletcher, all-original sacred cow, the dynamic St Peter's Anglican College Blues Band and the extraordinary Driving Sideways. Tickets are $25 from Moruya Books, Bodalla Dairy Shed, Batemans Bay Asian Supermarket
Come prepared to win some amazing prizes and bid in the silent auction, knowing that while you are having big fun, you are helping a family find safe haven.
If you want you can simply donate to the fund where we will hold the money in trust:
ACCT NAME: Refugee Action Collective Eurobodalla
BSB: 062 575
ACCT: 1022 6847
Please add the word KENYA to your donations.
We hope to raise enough money for the family to travel to get citizenship and passports, register with NGOs and resettle, to wherever that ends up being. If they cannot get out of Kenya we hope to set them up with a small fruit and vegetable kiosk and a couple of goats. It doesn't seem too much to ask and the ripple effect would be inestimable.