Campaign to send refugee to Canada

May 10, 2021 BY

Action: RAR Bendigo, Grandmothers for Refugees and Amnesty Bendigo at a rally in March. Photo: SUPPLIED

LOCAL refugee support group Rural Australian Refugees Bendigo are ramping up their efforts to raise money to resettle a refugee from Nauru and Manus Island in Canada.

Aiming to riase $18,500, RAR representative Helen Musk said people can make a tax deductable donation, with money going to Canadian groups Ads-Up and MOSAIC to give a stranded refugee hope.

“Ads-Up is made up of ex-expatriate Australians in Canada who’ve looked on and said this is disgusting we have to do something as Australians,” she said.

Ms Musk said the process to be settled is quite long but overall beneficial for refugees looking for a better life.

“The Canadian government allows refugee groups to sponsor individual refugees and the deal is they have to raise money to support them for one year, they have to look after them when they arrive,” she said.

“They have to find housing for them, enrol their kids into school, find them jobs and look after them for a year, and they’ve got 200 places allocated for them.”

“They have to be suitable for resettlement so they’re looking for people with some skills and some English,” she said.

“The other lovely thing about it is they’re looking for people that want to be reunified with their families, so if they get a place in Canada, they’ll bring their family to meet them.”

RAR groups in Castlemaine and Aireys Inlet have both held similar, successful campaigns supporting refugees.

“Castlemaine got $18,500 in two weeks, in fact, they raised $36,000,” Ms Musk said.

“Aireys Inlet did it and raised $45,000, so I’m saying to our group surely in Bendigo we can do it, but we haven’t.”

Ms Musk said while Australians have raised $2.5 million to support the initiative, the government needs to do more to support refugees.

“The government says they’re not in detention and they’re not, but they’ve got no citizenship rights, no work rights in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, so they’re just existing,” she said.

“The people the government kindly let out of hotels, these men were transported to motels which were in industrial areas and they were given $150 and told they have six months to work out how to get away from Australia.”

RAR is committed to supporting medevac refugees and people seeking asylum in any way they can.

“We have a program here where we invite people up for the weekend and it’s meant to be a holiday, we don’t talk about their lives, it’s just a time in the country,” Ms Musk said.

“Some of those medevac people are coming up the second weekend in May.”

To donate to RAR Bendigo, contact [email protected] or for more information visit bit.ly/3cKLW8R.