Asylum seekers: Charities and Resources

Here is a list of charities and groups that help people seeking asylum in Australia.  It’s just the ones I know about, so if you know of a really good one that I’ve missed, please comment, and I’ll add it to the list.

National Charities

  • Australia for UNHCR is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing life-changing humanitarian support to refugees and other displaced and stateless people who are supported by the United Nations Refugee Agency (The UN Refugee Agency). We achieve this by raising funds for UNHCR’s international humanitarian operations.
  • Amnesty International are, of course, one of the reasons we know what’s going on on Nauru, and they are fantastic on human rights generally.
  • Refugee Council of Australia provides policy analysis, advocacy and representation, community education and awareness raising around asylum seeker issues.  They are the national coordinator of Refugee Week.
  • Rural Australians for Refugees is a grassroots movement striving to return compassion and humanity to Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers.  They are not looking for donations, but if you are living in a rural area, and are looking for like-minded people to work with, this would be a great place to start.
  • The Australian Red Cross helps asylum seekers to access medical, housing and other essential services. They provide housing for families and children who are living in the community and offer support to help ensure children attend school in the local community.  They also offer one-on-one case work to eligible clients and run group education sessions for asylum seekers on topics such as finding accommodation, setting up bank accounts and accessing government services. They can also help asylum seekers to apply for the Status Resolution Support Service program.  They receive some funding through the department of immigrations, but can also use donations and volunteers.

Charities by State

Australian Capital Territory

  • In the ACT, Canberra Refugee Support are assisting refugees to settle in Canberra, providing advocacy, policy advice, and also training, to help refugees settle and integrate into the community.

New South Wales

  • The Asylum Seekers Centre provides practical and personal support for people seeking asylum living in the community. Their services include casework, accommodation, financial relief, health care and counselling, employment assistance, education, advocacy, food and recreational activities.
  • House of Welcome provides material aid for refugees and asylum seekers in NSW, including food, toiletries, household items, and even second-hand mobile phones.  They also accept cash donations.
  • The St Vincent de Paul Society Asylum Seeker Program aims to work together with people seeking asylum, focusing on vulnerable individuals and families living in New South Wales (NSW) and experiencing financial hardship. The ASP provides case management, financial assistance and wrap around support people seeking asylum who may be at risk of homelessness as they have no form of income and have minimal support options available to them.

Northern Territory

  • The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network focuses on support, community awareness and advocacy.  They have a wide variety of projects, including visiting people in detention, making welcome packs for refugee mothers and babies, and of course, advocating for policy change.  And yes, they are looking for both donations and volunteers.

Queensland

South Australia

  • Welcome to Australia exists to engage everyday Australians in the task of cultivating a culture of welcome in our nation. They seem to be pretty new, but look like they are worth watching.
  • The Refugee Advocacy Service of South Australia offers pro bono migration assistance to asylum seekers, in South Australia, who are eligible to apply for a Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) or a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) under the Federal Government’s “fast track” process.

Tasmania

Victoria

  • The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, based in Melbourne’s inner north, provides a wide range of services to asylum seekers, from advocacy and legal support to material aid.  They accept donations of both cash and material aid, and also have a volunteer program. They also have a catering service and a cleaning service, both of which provide paid work opportunities to people seeking asylum.  They are pretty awesome generally.
  • Friends of Refugees is a central source of first-line relief for people seeking asylum in Melbourne’s south-east. Their services include material aid, food aid, education support, job training and resettlement programs. They also have a drop-in centre in Dandenong, which provides a welcoming and safe environment for people in desperate need.
  • The Lentara Uniting Church Asylum Seeker Welcome Centre is a community centre in Brunswick, Victoria, that offers a safe and welcoming space for people seeking asylum in Melbourne.  They provide information, referral and linkages to services related to each asylum seeker’s situation, offer a chance to make social contacts, and raise awareness of the needs of asylum seekers.
  • The West Welcome Wagon is a team of 200+ core volunteers run by volunteer managers in Melbourne’s western suburbs. WWW currently assists over 500 households of asylum seekers from over 30 different countries. WWW primarily provides material aid (good quality donated items) directly to asylum seekers in Melbourne’s West e.g furniture, bedding, clothing, children’s toys, appliances and kitchenware.

Western Australia