VALE Joyce Rebeiro: Educator, activist 6-05-1942 – 12-9-2016 – The Age

Extract from the obituary written by Jan Tresize & Des Cahill

The unexpected passing of Joyce Rebeiro has been widely mourned, especially in Melbourne’s southeastern suburbs. She was a social justice and multicultural activist and interfaith educator based upon her deep commitment to her Catholic faith …

After high school she completed her Bachelor of Commerce before gaining her first job working with destitute refugees from Bangladesh during the 1960s with the frictions between East and West Pakistan. Thus was born her life-long commitment to refugees and to social justice issues.

After the situation of Anglo-Indian families deteriorated in independent India, in 1968 she arrived in Australia with [family] to be greeted by Jan Tresize, with whom she would be close friends for the rest of her life.

She took up an appointment with the National Red Cross Youth Department. During this time she was close to the nuns of Mother Teresa, particularly in their work with Aboriginal families at Bourke in north-western New South Wales.

[After a trip overseas, and,] back in Australia, Joyce worked for the Ecumenical Migration Centre (EMC), [now the Multicultural Communities Team of the Brotherhood of St Laurence] and the Australian Institute of Multicultural Affairs while continuing her graduate and postgraduate studies in social welfare and immigrant studies. [Joyce also served on the EMC’s Committee of Management for several years] …

A special feature of her life was her decades-long commitment to the refugees from Timor Leste, including  some who have returned to take up senior positions in the fledgling nation.

In 1988 she took up the groundbreaking position of access and equity officer in the City of Springvale. There she worked in her usual self-effacing manner to defuse racist and intercommunal tensions and was one of the instrumental founders of the faith communities network of Springvale. This was a first for Australia and it evolved into the interfaith network of the City of Greater Dandenong, which is widely recognised as the pre-eminent local government interfaith model in multifaith Australia …

Later on she worked for Carers Australia in various education, research and advocacy roles and her last position, still ongoing at the time of her death,was to be the multifaith educator for Religions for Peace Australia in coordinating the teaching of the Baha’i, Buddhist, Greek Orthodox, Hindu and Sikh faith traditions into government primary schools. …

SOURCE: Tresize, Jan and Cahill, Des. “Joyce Rebeiro: Educator, activist 6-05-1942 – 12-9-2016” The Age Obituaries, 22 November 2016

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