As most of you know, I’m participating in the Blackmore’s Half Marathon this year. I also decided to raise money for charity as part of my run, and the charity I’ve chosen to support is the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
WHO ARE THEY?
The ASRC is the largest provider of aid, legal and health services to people seeking asylum in Australia. They’re run by more than 1200 volunteers and 60 staff and assist around 2,000 people each year.
Their vision is for all people seeking asylum have their human rights upheld and receive the support and opportunities they need to live independently. Their mission is to:
- Protect asylum seekers from persecution and destitution
- Support well-being and dignity
- Empower people and enable self-determination
WHY DID I CHOOSE THEM?
It always hits home for me when I hear about people fleeing their homes for hopes of a better place for themselves and their families. Because that’s exactly what my own parents did.
An excerpt from the U.S. Library of Congress: “From 1975 to 1985, after the communists had seized power and were consolidating their hold, some 350,000 persons fled across the Mekong River to Thailand and, in most cases, resettled in third countries. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, this outflow had declined substantially. In 1990, for example, an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 lowland Lao and 4,000 to 5,000 upland Lao departed illegally for Thailand.”
My parents are part of those statistics. They left their home in Laos, during a time when there was a lot of violence and civil unrest, and swam across the Mekong River to Thailand, lived in a refugee camp for 2 years (my sister was born right there in that camp), before they were given the opportunity to move to Australia.
They came to Australia with nothing and worked really bloody hard to create a better life for themselves and for my sister and I. Far better then we ever could have had if they had stayed in Laos. And for that, I am eternally grateful. And also because of that, I feel nothing but compassion for those who are trying to do the same thing, and want to do nothing but help them because I know how hard it was for my own parents to do the same.
To think that those who fled even worse conditions than my parents, are being kept in off shore prisons (don’t call them camps or communities – they really are just prisons) really breaks my heart. Parents, kids and babies all denied their basic human rights and being treated like animals, breaks my heart. Hearing stories of sexual, physical and mental abuse occurring in these places and the media and most of society turning a blind eye to it all, breaks my heart.
What warms my heart immensely though, is knowing that there are centers like the ASRC that look after these asylum seekers by providing them with legal aid, food aid, healthcare and spreading awareness with what little resources they have. And that is why I’ve chosen to support them, so I can help them in my own little way.
My fundraising goal is $750, and I would really appreciate it if you could make a donation and help support the cause. Here’s a guide of what your donation could mean:
$30 will feed a family for a month from the ASRC Foodbank
$55 will provide free medical care to 10 asylum seeker children
$80 will provide 50 hot community meals
$100 can provide housing to a person seeking asylum for one week
My donation link can be found here>>.
Thank you so much!