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No Child Left Behind – Refugee Council of Australia

There are currently around 16,000 children in families seeking protection in Australia. Many people seeking asylum have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, as they often work in the service sectors worst affected. People seeking asylum are not eligible for the JobSeeker or JobKeeper payments, like many other workers. Some don’t even have access to Medicare.

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There are many ways in which you can be directly involved with supporting refugees in New South Wales. Listed below are some of the many ways you can get involve with the work of the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group. These range from writing letters which you can do from home or with a group to being part of our visitors program.

Whatever your skills or talents, there is a place for you to be involved. Please check out the options below and sign up if there is something that appeals to you.

Youth Shoebox Project

Amazingly it’s the seventh year of the Youth Shoebox Project. With schools under pressure and an increased demand for our new Afghan arrivals, we need more help than usual from our already generous community.
 
It’s a fun thing to do with children and grandchildren, but anyone can get involved. Even donating a few unused items or making some personal cards is helpful.
 
See our Facebook page ‘Youth Shoebox Project ‘ for all the information you need, or e-mail: [email protected].
 
The deadline is 1st  December and the drop- off points are – Able2’s Office, 6, 7-9, Raymond Rd. Springwood and Foot of The Mountains, 11, Ross St. Glenbrook.
 
More information on what to choose, how to pack Youth Shoebox Project
 

Changing Hearts and Minds

We aim to widen public understanding of refugee and asylum seeker issues through:

  • Advocating for fair treatment of those seeking asylum through social media and main stream media,
  • Writing submissions and engaging with politicians,
  • Involving our schools and young people in a range of activities such as speakers, theatrical events and the Christmas ‘Welcome Shoesbox Project’.

Writing Letters

TAKE ACTION Write to your politician

From time we are asked to write to politicians. We offer guidelines and addresses to Senators and Members of the House of Representatives.

Writing Letters Read more

Join the BMRSG Writing Group

BMRSG Writing Group meets on the second Thursday of the month at 11 am at the home of Judy Reynolds in Leura.   Members write to politicans on a current topic relevant to refugee issues.    New members encouraged.  Come when you can.

If you are interested contact [email protected]

Help with Events

We are always looking for people who can help organise events. When an event is scheduled we often ask for help with a variety of tasks such as, promotion, selling tickets, setting up venue,  serving tea and coffee,  helping on a stall, selling raffle tickets, etc.

If you would like to help with events please email [email protected]

Fundraising

In 2020 BMRSG is supporting about 50 households of asylum seekers in Western Sydney (a household may include more than one family). Many of these people have been cut off from the federal government’s SRSS program, leaving them with no financial support at all.  People on bridging visas without centrelink/medicare or work rights are particularly disadvantaged.  The assistance that we provide is absolutely necessary for people to maintain their lives here at the most basic level.

We are also seeing deportations of asylum seekers back to places where they are likely to experience persecution including imprisonment, torture, even execution. A barrister can issue a writ which stops this process until the case is heard in court. Lives can be saved in this way but barristers are expensive.

BMRSG needs to raise more than $50,000 each year to maintain its important and necessary commitments to refugees and asylum seekers.

If you are interested in assisting with fundraising activities such as organising events, selling raffle tickets, helping with online campaigns, providing afternoon tea for events etc. contact our Secretary by email at [email protected]

Donations of Smart Phones and Laptops

BMRSG no longer collects and distributes furniture and clothing.
There is another service now operating in Sydney, The Generous and Grateful, so we will be referring any needs to them.

A huge thank you to our many volunteer drivers, offsiders and donors who made this service possible and to Adelaide, Julie Martin and others who have coordinated it previously.

We will continue to collect smart phones and laptop computers.
If donating these, please either clear them or provide a password so we can clear them for you.

Send to Robert at [email protected]

Employ an Asylum Seeker

Asylum seekers, in their bid for protection and resettlement want what ordinary Australians desire – a fair go. They don’t want special treatment, they want an opportunity to make their own way and not be dependent on charity or government. If you can employ someone directly, or refer someone who may be able to offer employment please contact Refugee Employment on [email protected].

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Become a Visitor

Visiting can be challenging. It demands a regular commitment and a high level of interpersonal skills and sensitivity. You will need to be a financial member of BMRSG, complete a Confidentiality Agreement and a Working with Children Check. There is a selection and induction process.

Community Visitors

Community visiting can be both rewarding and confronting. Visitors see refugees and asylum seekers who live in the community, usually in Western Sydney. Each household is different, so needs and support vary widely. At times this might mean simply befriending a family or an individual. At other times this might involve supplying basic food and household supplies, vouchers, lifts to medical appointments or organising furniture and bikes. The people we support often face hurdles with bureaucracy and need help tackling forms. Communicating with real estate agents/property owners and school, or organising repairs and appointments are things where we are frequently asked to help. Liaising with caseworkers and signposting people to other agencies who can provide support, is also a feature of the work.

A few visitors also volunteer to home tutor in English or other subjects.

If you are prepared to travel to Western Sydney and can respond flexibly to a wide range of ever changing needs, community visiting may suit you. There is a small contribution to travel expenses and arrangements for re-imbursement of costs, within agreed guidelines

DOWNLOAD:  Community Visitor Guidelines

If you are interested please contact [email protected]  for an informal discussion about the role.

Villawood Visitors

BMRSG Teams visit Villawood Detention Centre regularly. Like visiting in the community the role requires a sustained commitment in order to build trust. Visitors provide a friendly face, food, conversation and links to the outside world. At times you will need to be prepared to listen to some distressing experiences so a high level of self-care is also necessary. You will also be confronted with the high security demands of the prison-like environment.

For more information email [email protected]

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