At JRS, we witness the anguish, despair and high levels of distress of people seeking protection in our country. Whilst they try to secure a life free from violence, fear, and persecution, they are confronted with a system filled with hurdles to get over in order to get a protection visa and numerous barriers to finding employment to support themselves and their children. They endure a long, exhausting and hostile journey with little support. They need your help. Can you make a difference in someone’s life today? Donate now.
Who is affected in our community? Stories of despair and hopelessness.
After 4 years on Manus Island, William* was transferred to Adelaide and granted a bridging visa for 6 months, this included work rights, but not study rights. He moved to Sydney where he joined our Empowered to Work program. William was relieved to have his visa and was hopeful about finding work and living on his own for the first time in many years. JRS’ employment coordinator worked hard to help William to find a job but without any training or study options, our efforts were fruitless.
Still, William was optimistic and took steps to develop his skills; he was attending JRS’ English classes to improve his chances of finding work and was open to different possibilities. As the expiry of his visa approached, he began to feel his situation was hopeless. He attempted suicide and was hospitalised. Spending time in JRS’ Community Garden at Westmead is the one thing that brings him peace. He deserves to live a meaningful life filled with hope and opportunity.
JRS has been accompanying and serving men like William, and many other men and women, that have been forced to flee their countries to seek safety; people that are trying to find a job against the odds. Think how overwhelming and stressful the process of finding a job can be after years of trauma and limbo. This is often compounded by government policies that prevent people from accessing government funded support services. This winter, thousands of women, men and children seeking protection continue to be directly affected by the severe cuts to the Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS).
Magdalena joined JRS’ Empowered to Work program in August 2018. From the beginning, it was clear that she faced significant barriers to employment including difficulties speaking English, a lack of work experience in Australia, and no formal recognition of her qualifications as a librarian; despite a rich career in her home country.
Magdalena is in her early-60s which adds to the complications of achieving suitable employment. Our priority was to bring Magdalena’s English up to a sufficient level for her to commence some vocational training and eventually apply for employment as a kitchen hand. From here, her dream was to retrain as a librarian at TAFE and then work in a community library or at a local school.
Late in 2018, her SRSS support was cut and with it, the meagre income that was allowing her to barely survive in the community. Suddenly, she was in a position of having no income to support herself nor her family. Magdalena became very concerned about how they would pay rent and bills. Soon the family found themselves facing homelessness, after staying with friends under difficult circumstances. Thanks to the support of people like you, Magdalena and her family are now accessing our emergency relief assistance.
Every day, our JRS Caseworkers see first-hand the various ways that SRSS cuts are putting women, men and their children at greater risk of destitution, hunger, homelessness and danger; especially those who are already living in precarious conditions. Some have disabilities and are in their old age. This should not be happening.
JRS is honoured to have your support to directly serve more than 3,000 refugees and people seeking asylum.
Thanks to you, we are able to provide critical assistance to those who are experiencing hardship and who are in extreme need; people just like William and Magdalena.
With your continued support, JRS can offer emergency assistance, access to foodbank, emergency relief, specialist casework, employment support, English classes, community activities, school engagement, legal clinics and a temporary shelter. We also have a new project to support women seeking asylum who have experienced or who are at-risk of gender-based violence. These critical services depend on your donations.
The Jesuit response is crucial. JRS Australia is deeply concerned about the lives of people like William, Magdalena, and many others that have been affected by the devastating impact of cuts to financial support and our current political environment. The urgent and complex needs of the people we serve have reached a critical stage. We need to act now.
That is why we ask you to take a leading role in responding to this emergency and help those who are vulnerable today. They are not numbers but individuals who want to live a life with dignity and peace – just as we do. At this time of crisis, the end of the financial year is an opportunity to support our sisters and brothers who are suffering and minimise their material and emotional limbo. Today you can make a significant difference to the lives of thousands of people in need. We echo the invitation of Pope Francis to “encounter” Christ in the faces of the children, women and men we serve. He asked us to never stop wondering: “What would Christ do in my place?”
On behalf of the JRS Australia team and the people we serve, we thank you for allowing us to direct your donation where the need is greatest.
Thank you for your ongoing support,
Our mission will always be to accompany, serve & advocate for people seeking asylum and for refugees.
Once again, thank you for walking with us.
*Names have been changed to protect identity.