Amelia Savage, Community Development and Leadership Coordinator
In 2011, I first became involved with people from a refugee background when I visited people seeking asylum in Villawood Immigration Detention Centre. Immediately, I was overwhelmed by the injustices they faced in Australia. Since that time, I have volunteered and worked in the refugee sector.
I am passionate about human rights and am currently studying my Masters in Human Rights (part-time) whilst working for JRS. I have always admired the work of JRS and its commitment to human rights as well as the reach it has for a relatively small organisation. I was thrilled to start working here in August 2019 as JRS’ Community Development Coordinator.
In this role, I coordinated our social programs and activities, which are run by our amazing volunteers. I also planned cultural events and celebrations with the help of our clients. Up until the end of 2020 I also coordinated our Foodbank program that provides critical support to our clients with weekly food.
Throughout 2020, we saw a huge increase in clients accessing this program due to the devastating impact of COVID-19. We moved to a Foodbank home-delivery system in the crisis. This was an enormous effort. But with the help of our dedicated volunteers, we managed to provide this support to our community of refugees, people seeking asylum and migrants in vulnerable situations, and their families, in the Sydney region. As of January 2021, we now feed over 900 people per week. Our foodbank program is now being run by our wonderful Foodbank Support Workers, Michael and Zahra.
In January 2021, I began my new role as the Community Development and Leadership Coordinator, where I am continuing to coordinate social programs, activities and events. I am also taking on the new endeavour of coordinating our Leadership Program. This program aims to develop the leadership skills and build the capacity of the people we serve so that we can work more collaboratively to bring about positive change.
I am humbled and honoured to meet incredibly resilient and inspiring people through my work at JRS. People seeking asylum in Australia face incredible hardship. Yet I witness such strength, grace, and dignity in the people we serve, which has taught me so much.
The mission of JRS is to accompany, serve and advocate for the most marginalised in our community and I am proud to work for an organisation that values people so highly. Although this is an incredibly challenging space, working alongside the amazing team at JRS is a daily encouragement.