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Hi, I’m Jodi. I was born in Adelaide to an Australian mum and British migrant dad. I have five sisters and like many siblings we don’t always see eye to eye. My younger sister Renée, who is also coming on this journey, thinks Australia needs to do more for asylum seekers. On the other hand I’m a strong supporter of strict border protection and don’t want my daughters to grow up in a country overrun by refugees. I know this journey will be confronting and even dangerous, but will it change my views? Join me to find out.
"I don’t like being bombarded by people from other countries. They need to learn the language and adopt our culture."
Jodi’s journey begins in Sydney where she meets Shomsul, a Rohingya man from Myanmar (Burma) who travelled to Australia by boat to claim asylum. Watch this clip to hear firsthand why he chose to leave his family behind and make this dangerous journey.
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Jodi’s sceptical about whether Shomsul’s situation is as dire as he claims. To find out for herself why he made the choices he did, Jodi travels to a refugee camp in Bangladesh to meet the rest of his family.
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"I think I probably came across as a very heartless, naive, selfish person and I’d like to think that I’ve grown and learnt so much that I can take with me, and maybe make a difference"
Appalled at the conditions that Shomsul’s family endure in the refugee camps of Bangladesh, Jodi journeys to Rakhine State, Myanmar to better understand what is forcing the Rohingya to flee their homeland.
View the transcript
“I’m a typical Aussie girl, selfish, proud of my country, didn’t want to share it with others....The journey that I have been on has really opened my eyes to this problem, I’m definitely more compassionate and I think that we do need to help and Australia needs to let more people in”
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- The Muslim minority living in Myanmar’s Rakhine State identify themselves as Rohingya.
- In 1982 the Burmese government passed a law that denied the Rohingya people citizenship, rendering them stateless.
- In 2012 tensions between the Rohingya and Buddhists of Rakhine State escalated into violence, forcing around 140,000 people (mostly Rohingya) to flee their homes. The majority now live in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps around the state capital Sittwe.
- The situation has led many Rohingya to flee Myanmar on boats at the mercy of people smugglers.
For more information about the work of Red Cross and the facts around refugees and asylum seekers visit: redcross.org.au/refugees
Note: The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, along with some other international humanitarian organisations, use the term Rakhine Muslims rather than Rohingya. This is tied to Red Cross’ principle of neutrality, and to enable it to continue its work with this and other vulnerable group within Myanmar. To find out more about Red Cross’ principles: redcross.org.au/principles