Tharnicaa Nadesalingam celebrates first birthday out of detention with a pink-themed party and a koala cake

Tharnicaa celebrates every birthday in immigration detention. Now at 5, it is free.
On a cold Sunday morning, dozens of family friends braved the cold at Biloela in local Lions Park to celebrate Tharnicaa Nadesalingam’s fifth birthday – her first out of detention.

At Tharnicaa’s special request, the theme for her party was pink – and she had to present a koala cake. Loved ones gathered around, singing happy birthday to Tharnicaa and her older sister Kopika, who wore matching pink clothes – true to the holiday theme.

A girl painting her face

Last year, Tharnicaa spent her birthday in a Perth hospital where she was being treated for sepsis. Source: SBS News / Rayane Tamer

The holiday scene was a contrast to last year, when little Tharni had to spend her birthday at Perth Children’s Hospital, where she was treated for sepsis caused by untreated pneumonia.

On her cake, ‘Happy Tharni and Kopi’, including 7-year-old Kopika who spent more than half of her birthday in detention, too.
“We had a pretty big flat cake that was for both girls because we missed four years birthday, for Kopika too,” local social worker and Biloela Angela Fredericks said.

“Then we had a beautiful pink cake with a little koala on top too. That was at Tharnicaa’s request.”


Balloons, cakes and overwhelming joy set the tone as the locals gathered at a nearby park to celebrate after “Tharni” and her family returned home to Biloela over the weekend. Source: SBS News / Rayane Tamer

Family and friends played a series of games, filled with laughter and pink, a normal sign of return to the Nadesalingams while settling back in Biloela this weekend.

It marks the end of a four-year campaign for the family to return to Biloela after the Morrison government attempted to deport them to Sri Lanka.

Priya and Nades arrived by boat in Australia as asylum seekers fleeing the civil war in Sri Lanka, before they met and had two daughters.

Anne Smith, a local teacher, helped organize the birthday celebration.
“This is the first time children are experiencing a real Aussie birthday party,” Ms Smith told SBS News.
“We made every effort today to make it truly special.
“The support from the community was overwhelming. I went to the bakery today to collect the cake and I think all of Biloela was there.
“It simply came to our notice then.
“I liked that when Priya spoke yesterday and said that now she’s home, she just wants to serve the community. And that’s what they were both like before they were hacked.

“They did a lot of volunteer work.”

In March 2018, the federal government attempted to deport them before an 11th hour court injunction saw the cards held in the Christmas Island detention center for two years.

They then moved into community detention in Perth before the newly formed Labor government intervened when they took power last month and were given bridging visas.


Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the episode was something “Australia cannot be proud of”.

“We’re a better country than that, we can do better than that,” he said.

The family is seeking permanent residency and Mr. Albanese sees “no obstacles” to being granted.

Tharnicaa Nadesalingam celebrates first birthday out of detention with a pink-themed party and a koala cake Source link Tharnicaa Nadesalingam celebrates first birthday out of detention with a pink-themed party and a koala cake

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