Traditional Tamil feast thank the Biloela community
IT HAS been 144 days since a Tamil family were taken from their Biloela home and sent to a detention centre in Melbourne amid a bridging visa dispute.
Priya, Nades and their daughters Kopika, 3, and Tharunicaa, 1, remain at Broadmeadows detention centre and are awaiting notice for another court hearing.
Priya's friend Angela Fredericks, of Biloela, said everyone was in a waiting period at the moment.
"The appeal has been submitted and looks like it will be set for a hearing in August," she said.
"In the meantime we are trying to educate everyone about the Tamils' plight and raise awareness."
To thank the local community for rallying together and supporting the couple, Angela is organising a community Tamil Feast dinner.
Priya loved to cook and would often cook curries to take up to the doctors at the hospital as a way of saying thank you. This dinner is a way of doing what she would do.
"We live in a small town and we do have a great sense of community but often you don't get to know each other. It's important to know one another's story," Angela said.
Angela, who moved to Biloela 10 years ago, became friends with Priya through church and playgroup with her with two girls.
It blows Angela away how resilient Priya and Nades are every time she speaks with them.
"They are so full of hope, it absolutely amazes me with everything they have been through," Angela said.
"She is so full of thanks and she is asking how everyone else is. Even through this struggle she is just so passionate about everyone else."
The family are kept separate from the other detainees in the centre.
They live in a house but are kept to one room and there is always at least one guard in the living room nearby watching.
Everything they do is monitored. They are not able to cook their own food, all of their meals are given to them.
"It is very much like a jail situation," Angela said.
If Priya is granted a court hearing and it is successful, her visa will go back to immigration assessment which will again take months.
"That's just how complicated the legal system is," Angela said.
"If we as an educated Australian struggle to make sense how do you expect asylum seekers to navigate it? The whole system is set up to fail."
Community Tamil Feast:
Wednesday August 1, 6pm
Traditional Sri Lankan food three course meal
Adults $20, children $10
St Gabriel's Anglican Church, Kariboe St
Tickets: www.trybooking.com/XBMH or search Facebook