News Release

Mormon Helping Hands "A Refuge from the Storm"

Members from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Brisbane Cleveland Stake recently gave generously of their time and resources to help less fortunate members in their community through the Mormon Helping Hands Program. The weekend focused on supporting those from refugee and immigrant backgrounds. 

Their efforts were part of a wider initiative involving Latter-day Saints and others in villages, towns and cities across the South Pacific and Australia. Volunteers participated in scores of service projects during the last Saturday in October, beautifying the environment and strengthening communities.

Young adults completed a Helping Hands ‘clean-up’ morning for the Queensland African Communities Council (QACC). The Brisbane City Council recently provided an unused building and sports ground for QACC to set up its headquarters (Africa House). 

Queensland African Communities Council (QACC) is a state wide organisation which supports the needs of over 60 000 African-Australians. The (QACC) mission is to help strengthen links between African communities in Australia regardless of religion or background. QACC participants come from diverse origins including Sierra Leone, Congo, Burundi, Liberia, Togo, Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Eritrea, Kenya, Ghana, Cameron, Sudan and South Sudan. 

       Losa Nuku,Taryn McBurney, Sebson Sibani, (QACC) Keiren Petty, Trent Pain 

In a culmination to the Helping Hands weekend, a devotional program entitled ‘A Refuge from the Storm’ was held in the Cleveland meetinghouse for members and guests, including The Red Cross Migrations Services and the Queensland African Communities Council.  

Mr Fred Duku Silver, a 19 year old former refugee described his own journey from his homeland of Uganda with his seven siblings and parents.  

The Silver family originated from South Sudan, but as result of civil war, the parents fled to a Ugandan refugee camp where Fred Duku, their third child, was born in 1997. The family lived in the refugee camp until 2007 when they entered Australia as humanitarian refugees.

Fred spoke about the new life created for his family in Australia, as well as the opportunities they were denied during many years as refugees. He reflected, "My dad has been my role model. At the age of 50 he decided to obtain a university degree. This has been a powerful motivation for me to begin my honours degree in law and business." 

Local church member Taryn McBurney, who works as a child and adolescent counsellor for the Asylum Seeker Support Team of the Qld Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT) spoke on her experiences working with refugees.

                   President Paul Fell, Taryn McBurney, Silver family Sudan Refugees

Paul Fell, President of the Cleveland Stake encouraged the members to "reach out and look for ways to help those who have come into our local communities after many years of deprivation, tragedy and trauma".

Leaders of the stake acknowledged that Helping Hands 2016 has created new ‘bridges of opportunity’ to work in collaboration with agencies such as Red Cross and the Queensland African Communities.

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