Refugee Week 2020

Refuge and Resilience

Immigration Museum partners with SBS On Demand to present an online film festival free to download for Refugee Week 14–20 June. 

Woman hold a photograph
Cuc Lam

Join us for a week of insightful films paired with moving refugee stories from Museums Victoria’s collection, and a curated selection of meals to order from local social enterprises supporting refugees, asylum seekers and new migrants. 

Inspired by UNHCR ambassador Cate Blanchett's ‘Films of Hope’, we present some of the powerful lived experiences in our collection, alongside films that highlight the resilience and hope of refugees, in the hope of promoting understanding of issues facing refugees worldwide.


Capernaum (2018)

A child and toddler lean against each other on the street, looking despondent

Zain, a 12-year-old boy scrambling to survive on the streets of Beirut, sues his parents in protest of the life they have given him. Lead actor Zain Al Rafeaa, a Syrian refugee, and his family were granted asylum in Norway shortly after the film premiered.

A story from our collections

Like Zain, Bul Bulkoch spent most of his youth living in poverty as a refugee. Both boys were granted asylum at 13, facing the difficult yet rewarding reality of assimilating into a new life as a teenager.

All Three of Us (2015)

A group of people celebrating, standing around a couple dancing
All Three of Us

An Iranian family flee a small village in the south of Iran to France. This film follows the optimistic family through it all and, despite the politics, revolution, prison and violence, is a comedy.

A story from our collections

Cuc Lam and her husband Huu Minh escaped from Vietnam in 1978, wearing the clothes of fishermen and carrying a few tiny possessions in their pockets. Rescued at sea and finally making it to Australia, this collection story also shows that family, love, courage and resilience help people face danger and find happiness.

The Other Side of Hope (2017)

Two men seated at a table, one in business dress, one with shabby clothing. They are surrounded by three people in uniforms, standing.
The Other Side of Hope

Displaced Syrian Khaled lands in Helsinki as a stowaway; meanwhile, middle-aged salesman Wikström leaves his wife and job and buys a restaurant. After Khaled is denied asylum, he decides not to return to Aleppo - and the paths of the two men cross.

A story from our collections

Just like Khaled, Zahra Jaffari yearns to be reunited with her sibling and find a place to call home. Zahra is from Afghanistan (from the Hazara ethnic minority), currently living with her family in Indonesia and, awaiting acceptance for a refugee program. Both stories highlight the arduous asylum process facing many today. Learn more about Zahra’s life story in her own words.

Styx (2018)

A woman standing at the helm of a yacht, with a concerned/concentrated expression

Rike fulfils a long-held dream to sail the Atlantic Ocean solo. Her dream changes course when, after a storm, she encounters a stricken fishing boat with many people about to drown. Rike is then forced to make a fateful decision.

A story from our collections

Like the refugees in this film, Saif Shamkhi and Mai Ho risked everything to make a treacherous sea journey because the lives they left behind posed an even greater danger. Uncover more of their experiences in our collection.

Sophie's Choice (1982)

A young Meryl Streep sits between two men. They are all laughing and having fun.
Sophie's Choice

Meryl Streep won an Oscar for her performance as Sophie, a Jewish survivor of Nazi concentration camps, who now lives in Brooklyn with her lover Nathan. Their happiness is endangered by her ghosts and his obsessions.

A story from our collections

Martha Ash was also a survivor of Nazi labour camps, losing her mother, first husband and other family members to the Holocaust. Discover her story and beautiful art works in our collection.

Dheepan (2015)

A man and a young girl read a newspaper together

Three strangers in conflict-ridden northern Sri Lanka band together to flee to the suburbs of Paris: Dheepan, an ex-Tamil Tiger; lost young woman Yalini; and orphan girl Illayaal. They find they must also cope with new violence and intolerance in their adopted home.

A story from our collections

Like the characters in Dheepan, Nyabana Riek struggled to gain acceptance and establish her identity as a newly arrived refugee from a minority community. The objects she donated to our collection highlight the displacement and loss faced by many migrants from war-torn regions. 

Samba (2014)

A young man stands on a train clutching a brochure

Samba migrated to France 10 years ago from Senegal and has been plugging away at various low-paid jobs. Alice is a burnt-out senior executive. Both struggle to redirect their lives, until fate draws them together.

A story from our collections

In our collection, real-life stories highlight deep connections and strong friendships between refugees, case workers and activists. Learn more about Aung Sam Lim and his strong friendship with Jill Parris, as well as post-war Vietnam case worker Lachlan Kennedy.


Object Unboxing: Zahra's Drawing

Dr Moya McFadzean, senior curator of migration and cultural diversity at Museums Victoria, shows us a drawing created by Zahra Jaffari, a young Hazara refugee from Afghanistan living in Indonesia, while she attended the Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre. The drawing portrays Zahra's dangerous journey from war-torn Afghanistan on a boat to Indonesia, and her dream of eventually coming to Australia. 

Support Melbourne food providers

Ceres Tamil Feasts

A social enterprise supporting recently settled asylum seekers through the celebration of food and culture, serving up traditional Sri Lankan fare prepared by Tamil men currently seeking asylum in Australia.

ASRC Catering Care Meals

Purchasing a meal from ASRC Catering provides a nutritious care meal to a person seeking asylum in need of support, while also keeping people seeking asylum in employment.

Brave Meals by Free to Feed

Nourishing feasts prepared by program participants who are refugees, people seeking asylum and new migrants. Order a meal to help generate employment for people seeking asylum.

SalamaTea House

Chef and owner Hamed Allahyari opened this Persian cafe and restaurant to offer work for refugees, asylum seekers and new migrants facing the same difficulties he encountered after arriving in Australia.

Lentil as Anything

In partnership with food relief, mental health and community organisations, Lentil provides 1000+ free meals a week to people in need. If you live close to a restaurant order a pay-as-you-feel-meal delivered to your door.

Support Refugee Organisations

If you’d like to, you can support refugees by donating to the follow organisation:

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Tell us about your online experiences with the museum. Our survey will take less than 10 minutes and all entries will go into the draw to win a $100 gift voucher at our online store!