• The Welcome Dinner Project has hosted over 180 potluck dinners in Australia. (The Welcome Dinner Project Facebook page: @TheWelcomeDinnerProject)Source: The Welcome Dinner Project Facebook page: @TheWelcomeDinnerProject
Turn that feeling of despair into action.
Caitlin Chang

27 Jun 2018 - 2:59 PM  UPDATED 3 Oct 2018 - 8:08 PM

Simple things you can do to help asylum seekers and refugees in Australia, and those waiting in detention.

Make a donation to an organisation helping refugees in Australia

Australian Red Cross provides support to refugees, people seeking asylum, those in immigration detention, and others who are vulnerable after migration. Along with providing practical assistance around health and accommodation, the Red Cross also works to reconnect families who have been lost during armed conflict, war and disaster.

Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) provides free, dedicated legal services to refugees and vulnerable people seeking asylum in Australia. Legal support is crucial for people seeking asylum to present their circumstances and life experiences in an accurate claim for protection to the Department of Home Affairs. Visit their website to make a donation. 

Send a care package to families in detention

We Care Nauru is a gift network for those living in detention on Nauru. The grassroots community send care packages to asylum seekers living in detention, sending everything from medical supplies, books, clothing, soccer balls to insect repellant and nappies. 

Become a food sponsor

Donating groceries is an immediate way to help newly settled refugees and asylum seekers. The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s Foodbank in Footscray provides food and essentials and accepts community donations. Or, order the groceries online and have them delivered to their designated locations.  

Connect over food

Is there a better way to connect cultures than through food? One café in Sydney’s Summer Hill is run by refugee women serving food of their cultural background. The menu at Four Brave Women changes every eight weeks as new groups take over the kitchen to prepare meals. Also in Sydney, the Addison Road Street Food Markets runs twice a month and allows new business run by refugees or recently-settled migrants to show off their food products to the wider community.

Buy ethical clothing

Fashion enterprises such as the Social Studio and the Social Outfit provide pathways for refugees and new migrants to work in fashion. Organisations such as these provide training and employment in the fashion industry through retail, design, clothes making and marketing. Shopping the label provides an ethical option for buying clothes while helping to create jobs.  

Make friends

Taking the time to say hello and starting a conversation with new migrants is one of the simplest ways to connect. The Welcome Dinner Project brings together eight established Australians and eight newly arrived migrants to share stories over a pot luck dinner. Find a dinner near you, or host one yourself.

Donate musical instruments

Community group Music for Refugees runs music lessons at Sydney’s Villawood Detention Centre, and earlier this year staged a donation drive for instruments to be sent to Nauru. Founder Philip Feinstein, a music teacher, told SBS News in April, “"It’s really going to improve the shocking, stressful life of many, many refugees stuck on Nauru and Manus.” There are drop off points around the country, but the group stress you should only donate smaller instruments in working order, such as guitars, violins, percussion instruments or recorders.

Go Back to Where You Came From Live airs over three consecutive nights, October 2 – 4, 8.30pm, LIVE on SBS Australia and streaming live at SBS On Demand. 

Join the conversation #GoBackLive

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