"Desert Sorrow" by Tom Mann. [review - radio script]
Dooley, Gillian Mary
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In 2000 and 2001, Tom Mann spent more than seven months, over the period of a year, as an education officer at Woomera Detention Centre. With only two other staff, he was responsible for all the teaching which went on at the Centre, including English classes for the adults as well as basic education for children of all ages. In his first stint in late 2000 there were only about 250 refugees, which represents merely an extremely difficult task. When he went back later for a six-month contract in 2001, there were up to 2000 people, and with few extra resources available it became nearly impossible to offer tuition to everyone who wanted it, much less to actively encourage those who were depressed and discouraged to attend classes. Tom Mann has now written a book, "Desert Sorrow: Asylum Seekers at Woomera". He offers many unexpected insights into life at the detention centre.