Australia Day will be celebrated to give thanks to all remarkable people, organisations, and community groups who stepped up to support the Filipino international students in Victoria.
The global health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic made it more difficult for international students to support themselves financially during their studies, since many are often dependent on student jobs.
Most of them are relying on the goodwill of friends or living on food parcels from community groups and charity organisations.
- International students have been one of the hardest hit groups during the pandemic.
- A group of Filipinos in Melbourne reached out to students by donating vouchers and free groceries.
- On Australia Day, the group will present a thanksgiving event for individuals and groups who have shown their support for those who are facing financial hardship during the pandemic.
In the middle this unprecedented crisis, a group of local Melbournian Filipinos in Australia founded the 5Bs Humanitarian Incorporated to act urgently and send help to every struggling Filipino they can reach.
It all started from 40kilos of rice that was distributed to students facing financial hardships, shares Elizabeth Ficknerski, organisation’s founder.
Several community groups and organisations soon reached out with other donations.
Partnerships were formed to offer wider relief programs for the temporary visa holders.
“We knew that there is a problem and we had to do something about it.”
As Australians brace for the most awaited public holiday of the month, Elizabeth and her team decided to celebrate Australia Day through a thanksgiving event.
“Isa po ito sa parte ng pasasalamat namin sa komunidad at sa lahat ng Pilipinong tumulong sa 5Bs Humanitarian Incorporated. Ito po yung isa sa kasiyahan na maiibgay namin dahil na-ayudahan po kami ng gobyerno ng $20,000 para patuloy ang pagtulong sa mga estudyante at another $20,000 para i-celebrate ang Australia Day.”
Organisation’s secretary, Maffy Villarba says they have been comforted, encouraged, and humbled by the outpouring of generosity and support from the Filipino and Australian community.
"Australia Day is the perfect time to thank Australia for looking after the community and for the efforts in handling the pandemic."
“The international students will showcase their talents at sila ang magseserbisyo sa mga sponsors bilang pasasalamat sa komunidad para din makita nila ang mga tao behind sa pagtulong sa amin.”
The all-day event will commence at 10am with free food and drinks served to all attendees with free entertainment and a variety of stalls at Happy Reception, Tottenham.
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