#Do1Thing: A small commitment can have a big impact

25 January 2018

Marthe volunteering at the JRS foodbank in Paramatta. (Denis Bosnic/Jesuit Refugee Service)

Parramatta, 25 January 2018 – Having been a migrant herself, Marthe knows something about having to move. Strolling around the city of Parramatta, she looks at the blossoms of the Jacaranda tree and thinks of her home in Mauritius. “Refugees don’t want to be here, they’d rather be home,” she says; acknowledging that at least she had some choice in her move to Australia.

She knows very well that greeting a migrant at the door with a smile, or having a chat over mugs of tea, may be small gestures, but they provide a welcome and a sense of belonging. This is even more true for refugees who often experience hostility and suspicion as newcomers in a foreign land.

Despite her modest claims of simply needing to fill her days after retirement, Marthe acknowledges that her “very, very small” contribution at the JRS Centre, Arrupe Place, does make a big difference to the life of the refugees who show up there.

“The little job you do is vital: if you weren’t there, at that minute, at that place, it wouldn’t get done,” she explains.

And so Marthe keeps turning up, because she knows the vital importance of being someone who can #Do1Thing to help make a refugee’s arrival as close to a homecoming as it can be.

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