From Summer Bay to Afghanistan

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Barbed wire Fence

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It’s a long way from Summer Bay to Afghanistan but it’s also a journey Tristan Bancks felt compelled to take.

The veteran Home and Away actor-turned-author has spent the past 10 years researching and writing the story of a group of young asylum seekers who were forced to escape from a detention centre in South Australia after being taken into custody.

Based on a true story and released to coincide with Refugee Week, Detention gives a powerful and thrilling insight into the life of an immigrant.

The acclaimed actor, who now focuses on his writing, hopes his new book puts Australia’s treatment of refugee families in the spotlight.

“It’s very hard to hate someone up close, and I am just trying to give people a first-hand look at what these people endure just to survive,” he said.

“Writing this book has taught me that our similarities as humans are far more powerful than our differences and that by and large people are pretty caring and compassionate when it comes to refugees, they just need a bit of help to see it.

Actor/Author Tristan Bancks
Actor/Author Tristan Bancks

“While the book is fiction, it tells the story of real events, characters and just as importantly emotions felt by them.

“It’s really not that hard to make a difference, all people need is to be educated.

“Hopefully the book makes people ask questions and start a conversation about how refuges are treated.”

Refugee Week is Australia’s peak annual activity to create a better understanding between different communities and to encourage successful integration enabling refugees to live in safety and to continue making a valuable contribution to Australia.

Tristan’s Top 5 Things You Could Do to Help & Understand Refugees

1. Get the facts. You could learn more, read more, like I did. Try Googling ‘Najeeba’s Story’ and discover what it’s really like to be a child refugee coming to Australia from Afghanistan. Or Google ‘What would you take?’ for a video on what it might be like to be forced to leave your home. Or check out: refugeecouncil.org.au/get-facts

2. Give a little. You could fundraise for refugees or donate a few dollars of pocket money to:
– Refugee Council of Australia – refugeecouncil.org.au
– STARTTS – startts.org.au
– Asylum Seeker Resource Centre – asrc.org.au
– Refugee Advice & Casework Service – racs.org.au

The cover of Detention, author/actor Tristan Bankcks' new book.
The cover of Detention, author/actor Tristan Bankcks’ new book.

3. Speak out. Maybe you could invite someone with a refugee or migrant background to come and speak in your school and share their story. You could start by contacting the organisations above.

4. Reach out. Google ‘Refugee Organisation’ and the place you live and click through to see how you could volunteer or
get involved locally. There are lots of amazing organisations doing big and small things to help.

5. Read All About It. Check out Room to Read’s amazing list of 35 Books Children’s Books to Read for World Refugee Day
https://www.roomtoread.org/35-children-s-books-to-read-for-world-refugee-day/