By Sabine Erika, New South Wales Regional Meeting.

Thirty-three facilitators from around Australia met for a week to take part in a Trauma Awareness Workshop, to exchange new ideas for exercises, to look at future directions and to renew commitment to the principles of AVP. We learned of work with children, prisoners, refugees and indigenous people. The need for Trauma Awareness and eventually Trauma Workshops grew out of the perceived need of refugees in Australia. It was brought to our attention that indigenous Australians have also experienced and continue to suffer from trauma.

The group included 6 former refugees from Afghanistan, the Congo and Iran, and one indigenous woman from Broome. A second indigenous participant was unable to join us at the last minute as he had obtained employment. Perth AVP has instigated workshops in Broome over recent months. The Centre for Torture and Trauma in Darwin initiated work with refugees and has trained facilitators in AVP in different language groups. This AVP work has been carried out under the title of ‘Peace Leadership’, and with the help of a generous grant from the NT Government.

Thanks to a grant from the Quaker Peace and Social Justice Fund we were able to support the refugee and indigenous participation as well as the cook and three other facilitators with limited means.

We were delighted to meet at the beautiful Silver Wattle Centre where David and Trish Johnson cared for us. Many participants took part in the early morning Meeting for Worship. Some younger members ran up the hill before breakfast and some of us walked in the cool of the evening. On Thursday night we gathered for a concert where singing, poetry, piano, guitar and flute all featured.

A good community was built over the week.

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