Pedal power: raising the plight of fellow refugees
Afghan refugee Rohullah Hossaini soaked up some mountains air in Katoomba on Friday September 11 on his way to Canberra as part of the Riding 4 Refugees mission from Swan Hill.
Mr Hossaini presented a petition to the Federal Government calling for better treatment of asylum seekers and their families when he arrived in Canberra on September 16 2015
Mr Hossaini, a landscape gardener from Swan Hill, said he decided to make the 2000 km ride after an incident on a Melbourne train. A woman sitting next to him asked him what language he was speaking on his phone. He asked her if she could guess. Her response was to say he looked like “a good old Aussie boy”. When she learnt he was from Afghanistan she asked him not to speak to her again, telling him that “You are coming here to take us over”.
Mr Hossaini said that more than anything he wanted to make the ride to raise awareness of refugees and asylum seekers.
“Refugees come to Australia to make a better life. We want to contribute to Australia” he said.
He said it was a waste of taxpayers’ money that the government spent $120,000 a year per refugee to lock them up in detention centres.
“I don’t want to spend my money (as a taxpayer) in this way, to put human beings in a detention centre. These people actually want to work. They’ve come here to help their families, to make a better life for their families,” he said.
Mr Hossaini left Swan Hill on August 30 and visited Bendigo, Melbourne, Wagga Wagga and Young.