A positive warm hearted story of a need identified by one of the BMRSG Community visitors, of a family in a house with no furniture and a new baby still in hospital, a timely offer of furniture and a feat or organisation by a number of BMRSG volunteers. #BMRSGHelps
A little more than a year ago two members of BMRSG met with Aasha (not her real name) who had escaped a horrific situation in India with the help of friends. Once she arrived in Australia she applied for asylum. Aasha was being supported by a STARTTS counsellor, her rent was mostly being paid by a leading charity which aids refugees, so BMRSG agreed to pay her $60 per week towards the rent plus $20 for her ongoing medications and fares. A few months later the charity said they were no longer able to pay Aasha’s rent. So, it appeared Aasha would be on the streets.
Latha and Bobbi arrived in 2013 and since that time they have established their new life by working, education and training and created a vegetable with two small children. This is a story of how one couple has managed to survive and thrive despite the difficulties that Australia places in front of those seeking asylum. Refugees do contribute.
Seven weeks ago we started our third term of the asylum seeker swimming program. Each week this very enthusiastic group of youngsters with their mums and dads arrive at the Blacktown Aquatic Centre for their “extended “ swimming lesson. These lessons are thanks to BMRSG supporters and the terrific volunteers.
The joy of giving and the satisfaction of being involved in a worthwhile project coincided recently. Chris Cather and Hugh Clarke, Year 9 students at Blaxland High School, helped prevent a much loved but ageing Nissan Pulsar from going to the wreckers and instead turned it into a treasure for a low income refugee. Chris and Hugh together with teacher Shaun Halden, grabbed the opportunity to give the car a new life. This was exactly what Sarah Emerson and her son, Owen, had in mind when they gifted the car to Blaxland High School for use in the Metal and Automotive program for Years 9 and 10
In this the 3rd year of the Youth Shoebox Project even more were received. More than 203 were delivered to children and young people seeking refuge and asylum. This project is a joint effort with Mountains Youth Services Team (MYST) and Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group (BMRSG) - working together to spread love and support.
Members of Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group gathered on Saturday 11 November for the 2017 Annual General Meeting. Chairman Hal Ginges congratulated members and their Committee for a busy and productive year, with highlights such as financial help for asylum seekers in their visa applications, and $130,000 distributed during the year to refugee families and Villawood detainees. Hal Ginges thanked two of the founding members of BMRSG who are standing down from their long term positions on the committee and taking up new roles.
Every Tuesday 14 asylum seeker children arrive at Blacktown Aquatic Centre for their swimming lesson. It’s such a happy day for everyone. Not only are the children taking part in the Aus Swim program they are enjoying the social interaction with each other. This program is thanks to the donations of all those through Local Hero.
So, such great news. Aiesha called and was so overwhelmed by the news. She kept saying “Thank you, thank you” - crying at times – “We couldn’t have achieved this without your Group’s help”. Wonderful news! A couple with two children applied for a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) and BMRSG assisted them with their legal costs. They were terrified of being deported back to danger. They had their interview with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection about five weeks ago and today they received a letter saying that their application had been approved.