Members of the Associated Country Women of the World had a stark reminder of the world position with refugees, stateless women and internally placed people, this month when they received their magazine with a fully black cover and its internal content. On the International Day of Refugees in June, it was announced that the number exceeds 70 million people, the highest number in 70 years.
From its earliest days the CWA has been conscious of the needs and issues confronting our refugees, immigrants and the homeless. Understanding the needs of these people reminds us we are all human, we all have the same needs … and as an Arabic saying puts it “We are all born in nine months”.
During the periods following the two World Wars when there was an influx of immigrants, there was a CWA concern that these families were often settled in rural areas without government consideration of their settlement needs. CWA was proactive in assisting to build a community infrastructure, but diffident about them joining CWA due to differing languages, culture and history. This of course has changed!
Regional Australia and rural women have expressed readiness to take refugees and to help in this current crisis. Our CWA tradition of strong communities, personal support and friendships all assist the settling in process.
 In recent years CWA of NSW, has been advocating government for specific housing options for older women faced with homelessness or a housing crisis. Women over 55 are the fastest growing demographic of homeless people, often through no fault of their own. Lifelong economic and social disadvantage resulting in income and employment inequality being a major factor, also breakdown in family networks.
A number of local branches are collecting goods for distribution to people living in their cars, shelters or on the streets.

Pat Hughes
Wollondilly CWA Group – The Highlands