IT'S Crazy Feet Day at Hamilton Public School today where students are running a fundraiser to help raise money for refugees settling into the Newcastle region.
Children at the school have become wise to the plight of refugees following the emergency evacuation of people from Afghanistan when Taliban forces took control of the capital, Kabul, on August 15.
Hamilton Public School principal Meredith Lindsay said students had designed and made their own Welcome to Newcastle cards for newly-arrived as well as organising the fundraiser, wearing crazy socks and shoes and making a donation.
"Hamilton Primary School is committed to diversity and the students are excited to share the region with new families from across the world," Ms Lindsay said.
"The philosophy and expectation at Hamilton Public School is one of being kind and giving back. We have a service program called HOP (Helping Others Program) which is embedded across the school as part of our school plan. This program helps to encourage and develop student voice and empowers them to make a difference in the world, no matter your age."
The effort coincides with the Australian Government's re-opening of the nation's borders this week. Fully vaccinated eligible visa holders, including people with humanitarian visas, can now come to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption.
Violet Roumeliotis, chief executive officer of Settlement Services International, which supports newly-arrived refugees, said the inclusion of humanitarian visa holders was a significant addition.
It had been welcomed by Australia's multicultural community and those concerned for the welfare of people fleeing war and persecution and struggling to survive, waiting in limbo while borders were closed.
"COVID-19 has disrupted the international community's ability to respond to the refugee crisis, including our own delivery of immigration and humanitarian programs," she said.
"Nearly 10,000 holders of humanitarian visas accepted by Australia to resettle because of persecution, discrimination or human rights abuses have been unable to enter the country.
"In recent months, with Afghan evacuees arriving in Australia, we have seen how responsive and generous the Australian community can be to those fleeing persecution and in fear for their lives.
"It is extremely edifying that now, with Australia's high uptake of COVID vaccinations and reopening to the world, we can again honour our broader humanitarian commitments."
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