September 2021 newsletter: Afghanistan update & Food for Friends

September 17, 2021

We continue to be shocked and saddened by the news from Afghanistan. One month on from the Taliban takeover, the situation is very dangerous and we are still calling on the Australian government to do so much more.

Approximately 4000 people have been evacuated by the government so far to Australia. We applaud the Government’s decision to offer support to all these people via the Humanitarian Settlement Program. This means people will be able to access health services, income support and other assistance from settlement agencies. The majority of people will likely settle in NSW and Victoria.

In NSW, Settlement Services International (SSI) will be the main provider for resettlement services. We are working with SSI to see if there are ways that the community can assist and we will keep you informed.

Meanwhile, we continue to advocate for the many in our ASC community from Afghanistan whose claim for protection must be reconsidered in light of the current situation.

‘Life is difficult now’: Hear from Kabir

Kabir is a businessman, a refugee from Afghanistan, a husband, a father and a volunteer with the Asylum Seekers Centre. Read more

Advocacy for Afghanistan

Further advocacy is being planned by the Afghan community around four key issues:

  • Increasing Australia’s intake of refugees through the humanitarian program
  • Providing permanent visas for Afghan people already in Australian on temporary visas
  • Opening up family reunion options for people on temporary visas
  • Lifting the Australian ban on allowing people to come via the UNHCR in Indonesia. The ASC is working with our colleagues in every state on advocacy actions you can take and we will update you as soon as possible.

The ASC is working with our colleagues in every state on advocacy actions you can take and we will update you as soon as possible.

This article is a great summary of some ways to support and places you can donate to help Afghan people here and overseas. You can also keep up to date with the Afghan community-lead campaign and join almost 200,000 people who have signed the petition at Action for Afghanistan.

We have sadly had many calls from people in our community trying to find people they have lost contact with, sponsor family members or to know what this means for their own temporary visas. If you are supporting someone in the community or need help you can call the centre for advice on 9078 1900.

Australian Story: Monday 20 September

The Murugappen family from Biloela are being featured on ABC’s Australian Story on Monday 20 September at 8pm (AEST). Tune in for interviews with Priya, Nades and their supporters.

Food for Friends

“I wanted to donate food vouchers because I wanted to do anything I could to support our brothers and sisters who are part of the asylum seeker community at the moment…” Parissa Tosif, donor and half of the electronic music duo, Vallis Alps.

Since the Sydney lockdown began, more than 11 weeks ago, the Asylum Seekers Centre has continued to support hundreds of households with their food needs.

We are providing vouchers for people seeking asylum to choose their own groceries in supermarkets close to their homes. In order to provide the safest options in high-risk areas, we are also working with community partners to provide hampers of fresh food and staples to some people.

This program of providing food for our friends is only possible because of your support. You can now donate directly to our food program which will buy supermarket vouchers for people seeking asylum.

Extra emergency relief available

The ASC has received some funding from the NSW Government to assist people seeking asylum to cope with the impacts of Covid-19. This is part of the funding announced in July and will provide some emergency relief for people who may be on the brink of homelessness and financial destitution. The ASC appreciates this support from the NSW Government, especially Multicultural NSW, to people seeking asylum in our community.

Health support and vaccinations

Our Health team, with support from our new Health Navigator Volunteers, have been calling people we support in the areas of concern to help them find vaccination appointments, answer their questions and provide practical support to attend. Our Health team has also been providing support for many people in our community who are isolating or have contracted Covid-19 to provide welfare checks and practical support.

Running in circles for the ASC

The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival has gone virtual this year which means that 40 tenacious and committed runners are going to be running anywhere from 10km to 42km+ all within their lockdown five kilometres and some within restricted exercise hours!

Despite all these challenges the Asylum Seekers Centre is currently fourth on the fundraising leaders’ board. With your support from the sidelines the runners can make it all the way to the top three. Check it out today!

Thank you for your ongoing support, action and belief in human rights. Keep an eye on our social media. We commit to keeping you up-to-date.

Warm regards

Frances Rush OAM
Chief Executive Officer

Write or call now to support Afghan people Kabir calls for safety for Afghan refugees and peace for his country