We can all do something – however small – to welcome refugees. Here are some ideas.
1. Take action
All countries should do their bit to protect refugees, but in reality many countries – including Australia – do very little. To play its part in making our world a better place, Australia must have a better plan to shoulder its fair share of responsibility. Locking up people on Manus Island and Nauru or pushing people back to harm doesn’t face up to the challenges we and other countries must deal with.
2. Donate good quality things
Many amazing organisations working with refugees depend on generous donations, including food, gift cards, quality second-hand clothing, toys and furniture. Check out these handy guides from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and the Refugee Council of Australia on the most useful things to donate and where to take them. You could also encourage friends, family and neighbours to contribute – particularly before and after birthdays or other celebrations.
3. Offer a safe place
If you have a spare room, or you’re a landlord with a place to let, look online for organisations that match emergency, temporary or permanent homes with asylum seekers and refugees. Enough Room is a grass roots initiative that aims to connect asylum seekers with Australians who have the space to accommodate them. If you have a spare, furnished bedroom, a granny flat or even a whole house you are willing to offer to an asylum seeker, for a minimum of four weeks, then you can make a difference.
Organisations working with refugees often need volunteers to help as companions, language teachers, career or legal advisers and mentors. Volunteering can be a great way to get to know newcomers to your area and help them integrate. The Refugee Council of Australia gives tips for ways you can work with refugees and asylum seekers.
5. Join or start a group
If you’re not already part of a local group, find out how you can get involved with Amnesty in your area and start using your skills to take action. You can also join one of our refugee networks in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia or Victoria. Whether you’re interested in fundraising, organising events or raising awareness, there are so many ways to get involved.