Latest Update re Our Vietnamese Refugee Families in Indonesia

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The families were moved to Semarang Immigration Detention Centre on the other side of Java on 28 July 2017. Conditions are tougher there: they were not allowed phone tablets, so the ones we gave them were taken away and only recently returned; the cell is much smaller and not as clean, and they were all confined together until recently when Mrs Phuc and her 3 children were moved downstairs; they are locked in all day and not allowed out to go to the bathroom at night; there is a camera inside the cell and they are constantly being monitored by officers. While they are provided with basic meals, if they want something extra, such as fruit, they have to give money to the guards to buy it for them.

Although they were initially told by Indonesian immigration that they would be moved to an IOM community housing complex with other refugees in Tangerang near Jakarta, they were subsequently informed that they needed to wait until they were fluent enough in Indonesian to live independently. Meanwhile they attend Indonesian language classes and also try to learn a little English — not easy for parents who left school after Grade 2! Hopefully life will soon be easier for them there and they will be able to enjoy more freedom, coming and going as they please, shopping and cooking for themselves. The children might even be able to recommence their education. Please contact us if you think you may be able to help them in any way. All ideas welcome.

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I am a writer and editor, passionate about helping refugees and about exploring the challenges life throws at us through my writing. A former journalist, I previously worked in publishing and taught French to university students. I am a member of Supporting Asylum Seekers Sydney (SASS) and have also served on the board of my children’s school for the past 13 years, including three terms as vice-president. My work has appeared in online and print publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, Independent Australia, New Matilda, Eureka Street, Jewish Literary Journal, The Forward and Online Opinion. I can be contacted at sebban@tpg.com.au Tôi là nhà văn/nhà báo, và cũng là chủ bút. Với nhiệt tâm muốn giúp đỡ cho người tị nạn và tìm hiểu sâu xa hơn về những khó khăn trong cuộc sống mà chúng ta phải đương đầu qua những bài viết của tôi. Là một cựu phóng viên, trước đây tôi từng cho phát hành các ấn phẩm và đã từng dạy môn Pháp ngữ cho sinh viên đại học. Tôi là thành viên của Tổ chức Giúp đỡ Người Tầm Trú Sydney (Supporting Asylum Seekers Sydney, SASS); và trong 13 năm qua, tôi cũng là thành viên trong ban đại diện hội phụ huynh học sinh của trường các con tôi học, với ba nhiệm kỳ làm phó chủ tịch. Những bài viết của tôi được đăng trên báo và trên trang mạng của những tờ báo như The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, Independent Australia, New Matilda, Eureka Street, Jewish Literary Journal, The Forward and Online Opinion. Để liên lạc với tôi, xin gởi email đến địa chỉ sebban@tpg.com.au

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