My partner Joachim and I are members of Buddies Refugee Support Group on the Sunshine Coast. We are both 77 years old and stilll fundraising for this group.
For the last six years Buddies has been conducting a Learn English Holiday program for refugees. Participants stay with host families for a week and enjoy daily English lessons and excursions. Lasting bonds are formed. We have hosted refugees from Sri Lanka, Iran and Sudan. They are now family. And this particular family from Sri Lanka is in urgent need of financial assistance.
They fled their war-torn country and came to Australia by boat. For ten years they were kept in community detention, supported by our government, but denied assessment and the right to work.
For five years before the birth of her first child, Viji volunteered at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, operating the mobile library. During that time she also sewed 1000 headscarves for cancer patients. Her husband Ramesh also volunteered there as a front of house valet and wheelchair assistant. Both are blood donors.
In April 2018 Ramesh was finally granted a bridging visa, which allowed them to work. Within two weeks, Ramesh found two jobs, and worked both day and night. From April until November he paid $6000 in income tax.
In November, without explanation, the work visa was cancelled, along with Centrelink and Medicare support!
Since then, our Buddies group, assorted charities, friends and we ourselves have helped them financially with rent, electricity, food, and schooling for two children, but now their federal court hearing has been adjourned until 22nd October 2019.
Regular appeals are made to the Minister for Home Affairs to give back their work visa, to no avail. They are mentally and emotionally at an all-time low. As pensioners, we are unable to give them any further financial support. Other charities are also struggling to give continued assistance.
Here’s what we’re doing about it
Our urgent plea is now to seek community support through crowdfunding.
You can join us
$12000 is the estimate of what will be needed to cover the family's expenses up to the date of the hearing in October. The funds raised will be used to pay rent, electricity, gas, food and school expenses for the children.