“I so easily feel helpless in the face of what seem like overwhelming global problems, but this is one small way I can contribute and know that my contribution will make a direct difference to individual families like mine,” says Julia Stiles, one of the organisers of this Saturday’s Tathra Winter Morning Walk.
The beach walk, breakfast, and dip in the ocean if you are brave enough is raising money for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC).
According to the ASRC, right now, thousands of people cannot access a basic safety net that helps them live safely during their refugee determination process. “Further cuts to vital support services mean hundreds more people seeking asylum are knocking on the ASRC’s door for help. It’s an unfolding humanitarian crisis that won’t disappear anytime soon, no matter which government is in power,” the Resource Centre says.
The ASRC Winter Appeal aims to provide food, housing and healthcare to people who have been granted temporary protection visas in Australia.
“We will meet at the Tathra Surf Club and walk to Mogareeka Inlet and back again. There will be an optional ocean plunge afterwards and we will provide a simple warming breakfast,” Julia says.
“Refugee is a tricky word, isn’t it, because it distances us from the fact that they’re ordinary people just like you and me, with cherished families and homes they’ve had to leave behind to escape desperate situations.
“They’re people who have fled war and persecution and are seeking asylum in Australia. They may have spent months, even years in detention before being processed into the community.
“Whilst they wait for a decision on their refugee applications, many are excluded from mainstream support services and as a result are completely dependent on people’s generosity to survive, with no income support or medical care.
“As you can imagine, winter is a particularly cruel time for them.”
Julia says she can relate to the many people locally who may feel confused by the issue, “I think we’re all confused and uncertain. I know I am. There’s a great temptation to turn away from people who are so vulnerable because we’re made to believe that there’s nothing we can do to change things.”
“My sense is that acting in a small way is an antidote to our feelings of powerlessness and a way of reaffirming our shared humanity. And small steps often lead to bigger ones, don’t you reckon?”
The cost of taking part on Saturday is $25, “it wouldn’t be a Bega Valley community event without food,” Julia says.
“So the amazing Birgit Ganster, famous for her breakfasts, has offered to make something simple and nutritious to warm us up after the walk – and swim for those who do.”
Meet at the Tathra Surf Club at 7.45 am for an 8 am start this Saturday, August 10. The walk will head north to Mogareeka Inlet and back. Bring a water bottle, a sun hat and your swimmers if you are brave.
All funds go to ASRC Winter Appeal, children under 12 are FREE.
To help with catering book through TryBooking now.
“If you aren’t able to join us but would like to donate anyway, go to the Resource Centre website,” Julia suggests.
“The ocean is a glorious 14 degrees, or at least it was when I swam on the weekend. It’s chilly but swimming in cold water is said to boost your immunity, increase your energy levels, reduce pain and release endorphins. It’s even meant to help with depression.
“Devoted ocean swimmers claim it’s a cure for all ills, but whether or not this is true, it’s a joyous and invigorating experience. And it’s addictive too. Why not take the challenge and give it a go? And if you think it’s just too crazy, you can watch us swimmers jump in and have a good laugh at our expense!”