Dear friends and members of the JRS Australia family,
Well into Advent we reflect on the challenging year that 2021 has been and the hope of Christmas. We think about Mary and Joseph welcoming a new child and how soon, after Jesus was born, the Holy Family had to flee to Egypt, fearful for the life of their child. Inspired by the generous love and example of Jesus Christ, JRS Australia shares the mission of welcoming the stranger, accompanying displaced families and individuals and bringing hope to those in greatest need.
People like Leena and her six-year old daughter Rubi (*) who are trying their best to survive amidst many challenges.
Leena called JRS Australia in distress at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She had lost her job and her only source of income, after the shop that she was working for closed down. Her final rental payment was automatically deducted from her account, leaving her with less than $10 to feed her daughter over the weekend. She was worried about how she would pay rent again. When she contacted JRS Australia, Leena did not know about the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Relief payments that people seeking asylum could now access, thanks in part to advocacy from JRS Australia and our civil society partners in 2020.
JRS Australia assisted Leena to apply and soon after she had money in the bank account to keep a roof over her head. In the interim, JRS Australia provided Leena with emergency relief payments to cover her rent and with food vouchers to help her stock her fridge and pantry for the family of two. Leena also struggled to home-school Rubi, with very few English language skills or formal education, and without a functioning laptop to connect to remote classes.
JRS Australia assisted Leena and Rubi to obtain a laptop and advocated to Rubi’s school for her to have specialised tutorials.
One week ago, Leena contacted JRS Australia again. She had contracted COVID-19 and spent two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit, whilst her daughter stayed with a neighbour. She cried as she shared that she was worried she would not make it home, and that her daughter would be alone. Leena has underlying health issues that have been exacerbated by the virus.
Leena is at home recovering, but she has heard that her COVID-19 Disaster Relief payments will end shortly.
This single mother is ineligible for any other form of social security as a person seeking asylum. Leena’s boss has also told her there is no more work at the shop.
JRS Australia has received many calls for help from people who fear for their ability to keep a roof over their heads, feed their families, and buy medication once their ‘disaster payments’ cease. JRS Australia also continues to support people who have been denied the right to work, and ongoing financial assistance altogether, living on the precipice of destitution.
People seeking asylum have every right to request Australia’s protection, but without your support, safety may elude them over Christmas.
JRS Australia does not receive a cent in Federal Government funding. And we value the ability which this affords us to advocate with full independence and confidence for the rights of the people we serve. Thanks to generous people like you, JRS Australia can keep it’s doors open to our sisters and brothers in situations of extreme vulnerability in our community and continue its advocacy.
With your continued support, each year JRS Australia serves more than 3,800 children, women and men who have been forced to flee their homes.
And following a year of unprecedented need, our waiting list continues to grow and our resources are spread much thinner amongst thousands of people needing urgent, lifesaving support.
This Christmas, your gift can have a real impact on our sisters and brothers.
Sharing your blessing is a generous act of compassion and hospitality.
Would you stand in solidarity with the children, women and men JRS is honoured to serve?
Your generous support is 100% tax deductible.
Your Christmas gift will directly benefit displaced children, women and men, who need it the most.
We hope you will partner with us in helping to spread hope as we work for a world in which all forcibly displaced people can attain protection, opportunity, participation and dignity.
On behalf of the JRS Australia team and the people we serve, we offer you our deepest thanks for your friendship and support. Merry Christmas from our JRS family to yours!
The JRS Australia Team