Where the heart is …

Where the heart is …

In ‘Where the heart is…’ eight people from refugee backgrounds share their stories of survival, who they are now and how they want to be seen.

The ‘Where the heart is..’ project provided a space for people from a refugee background connected to the Queensland program of assistance to survivors of torture and trauma (QPASTT) to tell their story in their own words, and to be seen the way they choose to be seen.

For people from a refugee background, leaving one’s homeland unfolds, not as an adventure, but as a survival imperative – violence, discrimination and other hardships force people to flee, often under the cover of darkness, perhaps bribing one’s way across borders. Family bonds are jeopardized when loved ones are left behind and there is the fear that you may never see your loved ones again.

It was envisaged the process would help reinforce a sense of personal identity and help clarify participant’s new social roles. An interesting and unexpected outcome of the process is it became clear successive generations made sense of their refugee experience in different ways.

“Where the heart is…” reflects the insight of these different responses to a new culture and a new country with particular challenges and opportunities. Several people connected to QPASTT and staff were also involved in the project as participants, learning skills in interviewing and taking photographs. Their knowledge, enthusiasm and skill is appreciated.”

* Image of Sanyu supplied as part of QPASTT’s ‘Where the heart is’ project. Photographed by Mark Crocker with Meron

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