Australian story: stranger on the shore

ABC News Australia – 07/16/2013 |

‘I think she was sent to this planet to challenge me’ Jillian Symons, mother

This week’s program tells the story of a young woman unsettling her middle class Melbourne family by going out on a limb to ‘adopt’ a fourteen year old Afghan asylum seeker.

Jaffar Ali arrived in Australia two years ago after escaping from Indonesia in a leaky boat subsequently intercepted near Christmas Island.

It wasn’t Jessie Taylor’s first such intervention. In 2008 she dramatically ‘rescued’ an asylum seeking Afghan soccer team during Melbourne’s Homeless World Cup.

Jessie Taylor is a human rights barrister who grew up in a comfortable ‘right wing’ middle class Melbourne family. Her mother Jillian was opposed to asylum seekers who she saw as queue jumpers.

But when Jessie spots fourteen year old Jaffar Ali, unaccompanied and behind bars in an Indonesian detention centre, she offers him her phone number in case he ever makes it to Australia.

What then unfolds changes the lives and attitudes of everyone in unexpected ways…

[ Detailed Interview ]

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