Winter Appeal 2021: Walk with people seeking welcome and protection.
21 September 2021
“A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.” Pope Francis
As Winter 2021 approaches, we hope you and your family are safe and well. JRS Australia and the forcibly displaced people we serve are so grateful for your friendship and generous support during the pandemic. It has enabled us to respond effectively to an unprecedented 260% increase in urgent requests for critical assistance.
While the hope is that our sisters and brothers who fled violence and persecution will access support for a short period of time and then move on to a self- sufficient life, we know the need is long term as the result of systemic barriers that deny a safety net for people seeking asylum. Without the protection of the Federal Government, charities like JRS Australia become the only ongoing support option for thousands of people and their families.
One recent, real-life situation: The Mohammadi family*: Mother Aleah, father Babak and their three children (7 and 5 years old and 3 months baby).
Aleah was the breadwinner of the family as her husband Babak lost his job at the beginning of the pandemic. She was expecting a baby and she hoped to keep her casual job until the birth, unfortunately, as a result of COVID-19, Aleah also lost her job. Babak has been unable to secure work, like so many other people seeking asylum, who have often been the first to lose their jobs and the last to be rehired.
With their baby due, their only income stream gone, no other family or social support network, plus being excluded from any form of Federal Government support, the future did indeed look bleak. Food and essentials became difficult to secure and the rent on their small, shared living space fell months into arrears, making each day a struggle.
Aleah and Babak had faced many extreme hardships in their life but the thought of being homeless in an unfamiliar country with young children and a newborn baby was indeed their darkest time.
When eventually referred to JRS Australia their situation was desperate. The newborn baby needed to switch to baby formula for feeding, but Aleah and Babak could not afford it. Aleah and Babak’s other two children were not getting enough food.
The JRS team quickly stepped in to assist with immediate provisions and ongoing access to JRS’ Foodbank plus a living allowance to assist with rent and essential living items such as nappies, formula and medicine.
Thanks to our family of supporters, JRS was able to extend the care and services to this family of five, and today, JRS continues to assist them with access to JRS Foodbank, emergency relief, specialist casework and employment counselling to secure jobs and become independent once again.
Unfortunately, JRS sees so many cases like the Mohammadi family. Countless clients have returned for assistance and there is still a significant spike in anxiety, self-harm, suicide ideation, and other mental health conditions. JRS caseworkers reported that there have been weeks that the team was calling the people we serve to check on suicidality daily.
JRS is doing its utmost to continue providing life-saving support to refugees and people seeking asylum that have already endured extreme hardship and cruelty in their own countries and that now are in crisis and facing dire situations in Australia as they remain excluded from any form of Federal Government assistance.
Your generosity and compassion keep us going.
Thanks to your generous support, each year, JRS serves more than 3,800 children, women and men who have been forced to flee their homes and need lifesaving support. JRS is delivering food to more than 1,000 people on a weekly basis and is providing emergency relief for many families that are facing destitution. JRS has also continued providing specialist casework support and is assisting more than 700 women seeking protection who are experiencing or at risk of sexual and gender based violence. We also work to support people’s resiliency through initiatives such as JRS employment support service.
Our sisters and brothers that you have enabled us to care for during COVID, continue to remain highly dependent on JRS as their primary source of support to survive.
JRS Australia does not receive any Federal Government funding. We value our ability to advocate independently for the rights of the people we serve.
JRS’ resources are stretched so thin in supporting so many individuals and families that we struggle to meet the increased demand. And while JRS’ advocacy work will continue to look for ways to address systemic barriers, we rely on the generous support of compassionate people like you to continue helping people in situations of greatest vulnerability to access the safety net that they have been denied.
To ensure that people seeking asylum who are disadvantaged in the labour market receive life-saving support in the interim, we invite you to consider making a gift to JRS Australia. Your gift will provide invaluable support for people who’ve endured hardship for too long. Today you can give hope and dignity to our sisters and brothers who are suffering in our community.
“We all have the duty to do good.” Pope Francis
You can donate online via credit card, bank transfer or by simply mailing a cheque.
Mail cheque to:
Jesuit Refugee Service Australia
PO Box 522
Kings Cross 1340
Account number: 00801043
Account name: Jesuit Refugee Service
Reference: Please use your name as the reference
Please call: (02) 93563888 or simply email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, your generous gift is 100% tax deductible!
Thank you for showing your love and care for displaced people in situations of acute vulnerability, and helping them to access a brighter future.
The JRS Australia family
*Names changed to protect their identity