Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Waratah sisters dig deep for refugees in West Papua

Newcastle Herald

Waratah sisters dig deep for refugees in West Papua

AT THE beginning of this year, Waratah sisters Kara and Neisha had never head of West Papua. 
Six months later, the girls' garage is crammed with donations, that will be packed into a shipping container and sent to the conflict-ravaged country this week. 

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Waratah sisters Kara and Neisha will send a shipping container of donations to refugees in West Papua this week. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

They have also taken it upon themselves to educate their classmates about the plight of thousands of West Papuan refugees, who have been displaced as a result of an ongoing conflict with the Indonesian government. 
The ruling Indonesian military has been accused of brutally repressing the Free West Papua movement, as the indigenous inhabitants of the country fight for independence.
"Our aunty used to live in Papua New Guinea and when she came back she told us about how people in West Papua were being treated," 12-year-old Neisha, a student at Callaghan College said. 
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"The government and army don't treat them like humans.  Me and my sister thought it wasn't really right so we asked our mum if we could help." 
The family was overwhelmed by the response to their donation drive, receiving linen, clothes, shoes, toys and toiletries. 
Kara, an 11-year-old student at Waratah Public School, said the sisters were hopeful the goods would make a difference for children her age who "had nothing". 

These people are not that far away from Australia – it’s the same distance from Newcastle to Tasmania – and nobody is doing anything to help them," she said. 

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