I Came By Boat – Asylum Seeker Awareness Campaign
1 December 2015 at 10:47 am
A group of enterprising Australians has turned to philanthropy and crowdfunding to help launch a poster campaign with the tagline “I Came By Boat” to shed a positive light on the social, economic and cultural diversity refugees bring to the country.
Australian makeup artist Blanka Dudas, a refugee herself, is leading the campaign.
Dudas, who fled from war-torn Yugoslavia, arriving in Australia in the 1990s, has produced posters showcasing Australians who came by boat from different occupations and backgrounds, and photographed them and recorded their stories.
The posters include activist and law student, Najeeba Wazedafost, and Munjed Al Muderis, a world leader in osteo-integration surgery.
The poster campaign is expected to run nationwide at bus and train stations, as well as on social media and an interactive websites, with the ability for people to send in their own photos and videos and tell their own stories.
“Asylum seekers are people, like us, only more unfortunate. Each has a name, a story, a dream, someone they love and someone who loves them. They want a good life, a free life, a future for their children,” Dudas said.
“They are vulnerable, but they are resourceful, capable, talented, inventive, skilled. They have so many attributes that we value and admire.”
Dudas said she and her team would need at least $150,000 to pay for the advertising space to get the posters up in bus and tram shelters across Australia. She said they were hoping to get corporate funding, but they were also asking everyday Australians to join together to help raise the funds needed.
“We must try to change the current attitudes in the community. I am hoping that this campaign can help, even if it changes a few people’s perceptions, that means it has worked,” she said.
Dudas has partnered with I Am a Boat Person, a charity that raises awareness of and solidarity with asylum seekers and their communities.
One of her supporters is CEO of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Kon Karapanagiotidis.
“This is a great campaign to raise awareness of the contribution that asylum seekers have had made in Australia over generations,” Karapanagiotidis said.
The campaign is also looking for more asylum seekers to photograph and is asking people to contact Blanka Dudas at firstname.lastname@example.org.