For more than 30 years, the Asylum Seekers Centre in the heart of Newtown has provided a warm welcome and… Read More
At an Asylum Seekers Centre Family Day, asylum-seeking families can pick up baby essentials, have fun together and get advice on school enrolment, health and transport.
Just as important as the material goods is the opportunity for kids to play together.
Parissa brings her family to play with other kids
Parissa*, who’s been in Australia for six years, brought her three-year-old daughter and six-month-old son to the ASC’s recent Family Day.
Living in limbo on bridging visas that must be renewed every six months, her family is ineligible for Centrelink, Medicare, and childcare subsidies. Her husband drives an Uber until 4am each night to support the family. Parissa regularly brings her kids to the Asylum Seekers Centre so her daughter can play with other children.
“Before, she was scared of people, when we were stuck at home (during Covid-19 lockdowns). Now she can make friends with everyone,” she said.
“The (ASC) helps me a lot. They support me with cheaper Opal cards for travel, they help me with baby clothes, and support many things for me.”
Parissa hopes for a permanent visa and Medicare access so her family can have a stable and healthy life: “I don’t care about Centrelink, just Medicare for the kids.”
Single mother Sika plans to build a nursing career
Single mother-of-one Sika*, who arrived in Australia nearly three years ago, also attended the Family Day.
“When I first came to Australia, I didn’t know my left and right and I was pregnant at the time. ASC helped me enrol in TAFE, I did a certificate in aged care and disability support. They helped me see a doctor, they helped me get my Medicare card,” she said.
Sika* is also ineligible for childcare subsidies, so she stays home caring for her two-year-old daughter Hope*.
“My daughter is not starting daycare or playgroup. It’s only me and her. If there is a family day like this, I like to bring her out so she can play with other kids,” she said.
Sika is completing as many courses as she can, so she can start working in aged care or disability support once Hope starts at school.
“I’m a very independent person, I like to work for myself. After I start to work and save money, I want to go into nursing,” she said.
But despite her current challenging financial circumstances, she doesn’t like to complain.
“Where I come from, it’s not like here. It’s a blessing to be here, you feel safe. The little that I have, I just make use of it and keep going. So far as I have life, that’s all that matters to me,” she said.
“I know the cost of living is hard, but what can I do? I’m grateful I have a chance to come here. I’m grateful Asylum Seekers Centre has given me the choice and confidence to have a dream that one day I will do things to help the community and the country.”