Dozens of people who are seeking asylum have started 2016 on the front foot thanks to the generosity and support of every day Australians. Community members contributed more than $3,500 in gift cards in the lead up to Christmas as part of the Give Hope campaign.
Contributors to the Give Hope campaign. Image from YouTube.
Settlement Services International (SSI) partnered with the Give Hope team to distribute over 100 gift cards to those in need. This allowed newly arrived refugees and people seeking asylum to live a little easier over the festive season and enjoy some much needed support with day-to-day expenses, including groceries and petrol.
One 18-year-old asylum seeker used a $40 gift voucher to buy new clothes for himself and his three sisters.
“I was very happy to receive this voucher because this is the first time since we left our country in 2013 that all four of us were able to buy new clothes for Christmas and wear them to church,” he said.
SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said it was invaluable to have the support of individuals, businesses, and organisations such as Uniting, which often go above and beyond to help those in need.
“The contributions raised through Uniting’s Give Hope campaign make a significant difference to the lives of vulnerable individuals and families, and even the smallest contributions help those in need to feel appreciated in the face of hardship,” Ms Roumeliotis said.
“These donations help to put a smile on the faces of our clients; many of whom are struggling to cope with feelings of isolation and anxiety after being forced to flee unimaginable circumstances in their home countries.”
Uniting Social Justice Advocacy Coordinator, Jon O’Brien, said the Uniting Church and its members strongly embraced the Give Hope Christmas appeal.
“Rural congregations especially appreciate the opportunity to provide concrete support to people seeking asylum as they generally don’t have local asylum seeker communities to assist,” he said.
More than 250 congregations have participated in the Give Hope campaign since its inception in 2013.