Winter Appeal 2024

29 May 2024

Country Director Tamara Domicelj (centre-front, from behind) with community, at an expert panel event organised for International Women's Day through JRS Australia's Refugee Leadership Program.

Winter Appeal 2024

This end of financial year, please consider supporting Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia, and the people we serve.

Please read the letter below, where our Country Director, Tamara Domicelj, reaches out to you in the hope you will heed our call, however you can.

Dear friends,

Your support means the world to all of us at Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia, and to the thousands of people we accompany and serve each year.

We do so, advocating for and with refugees, people seeking asylum, and leaders with lived experience of displacement, for their rights to be upheld – for the safety, justice, and dignity that we are all owed as human beings.  

It is a privilege to serve people seeking asylum, refugees, and migrants of all ages, faiths, cultures, genders, and diverse countries of origin. These courageous people, who have endured so much, strive to build safe futures for their families, while contributing to our society in many ways.

As need is so great, we triage our support to people in direst circumstances, who often have nowhere else to turn.

And yet, during my time with JRS I have seen people we serve and others with lived experience of displacement leap to the frontlines of our COVID response, donate goods and funds, and shine as leaders in myriad roles across our extended team of staff, Board, volunteers, and interns.  

We are so much stronger for that.  

Friends – when you bring your head, heart, and hands in support of our mission, in whatever way you can, you are part of this team effort, and you foster hope. 

When you donate whatever funds you can spare, you help us to keep this vital team effort alive – you drive the delivery of our mission.

Please see the below video from Jose, our Head of Accompaniment and Service, with updates from our team, and a thank you for your ongoing support for refugees and people seeking asylum in our community.

We need your support, now, more than ever. With devastating conflicts worldwide and rising costs of living, we are seeing suffering and trauma like never before.  

We receive no Federal Government funding, and no core funding, and the recent Federal budget was not the salve we had hoped for. We saw positive measures for some refugees, but at a time of desperate need, the people we serve face further exclusion. The only Federal welfare program – which has benefited very small numbers of the people we serve – was drastically cut, once again.  

And so, at the end of May, with humility and great pride in what we do, we issue this Mayday Call.

We are in urgent need of any donation you can provide, and we are so grateful for all that we have received. Every donation helps. And gifts of over $2 are tax-deductible. Donations made on a regular basis bring the added benefit of supporting us in planning our future.

Please hear this Mayday call with our warmest, heartfelt thanks for all that you do.

I learned that, when need presents, so does the opportunity to do what you can to help, with what you have, from where you are. 
Tamara Domicelj, JRS Australia Country Director

I’d like to finish this letter on a personal note:

As a small child I lived under a military dictatorship. My family did not experience its brutality first-hand. We witnessed its worst effects on people we loved and others we did not know, and my parents worked hard to shelter people in need and support their passage to safety. We were never displaced, and I absorbed, young, the inexplicable truth that others were less safe than I and my family. And from there I learned that, when need presents, so does the opportunity to do what you can to help, with what you have, from where you are. 

I am fortunate, now, to be living in the beautiful Blue Mountains. This morning as I was cycling with my son to his school bus-stop my iced over bike chain snapped. So I drove him to school instead, stopping at a cafe to buy his favourite take-away as we’d forgotten left his lunchbox at home amidst the hasty change of plans. The lights flickered off in the café. The waiter said that the power would be back up soon, and it was. Walking back to the car we were startled by a sudden screech and paused to admire a flock of raucous cockatoos soaring overhead. Birds, not bombs. He’s still at an age to reach for my hand when startled and my heart always bursts with the joy of that closeness and knowledge that, for the most part, I can protect him. He recently needed an ambulance and time in hospital. The lights stayed on there, his pain was managed, and his vital signs were monitored continuously. He is recovering well.  

I am so grateful for all of that: a roof over our heads on the cusp of winter, a car, ample food, free school education, and access to a viable hospital and medicine. As it should be for us all. 

It is a privilege to serve, and one that all of us at JRS Australia feel keenly. 

Once again, heartfelt thanks for journeying with us – for the hope that you bring and for heeding our May Day call, however you can. 

Warmest wishes, 


Tamara Domicelj
Country Director