Teddy Bears Without Borders is a community project with the goal of donating handmade teddy bears to children in Australian immigration detention centres on mainland Australia, Christmas Island, and Nauru. We also hope to raise awareness of the plight of children and families in detention and build support and understanding within the wider Australian community.
Many refugee and asylum seeker families in Australian immigration detention suffer a variety of mental health issues which directly arise from being detained with little certainty about their future. Mothers, fathers and children frequently suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and in these circumstances children are particularly vulnerable. As a result, parents find it increasingly difficult to provide the level of emotional support, comfort, and attention that children need. Teddy bears can be an important tool to enable children to ‘self-soothe’ (for example, when they wake from nightmares), and they may also provide comfort and reassurance, relieve anxiety, and promote feelings of nurture and love.
The need for resources for children to cope has been identified by trained mental health professionals working within the detention system. There are currently (as at October 2014) between 700 and 800 children held in Australian-run immigration detention centres. We believe no child should be held in detention.
Community, volunteer, and advocacy groups, and a variety of other organisations are among the many groups and individuals supporting and contributing to this project and we thank them all.