Many countries in the world do not enjoy the peace and democracy of Australia. This can often lead to terrible conflict and warfare, and persecution of minority groups in much of the world. People may be forced from their homes and jobs, kidnapped and subjected to torture, or ostracised because of their race or religion. They may fear for their own and their children's lives. This forces many millions of people around the world to migrate out of their home countries. A small number of these people use their human right under the Refugee Convention to come to Australia and seek asylum here. We are fortunate enough to be a wealthy country, with the ability to welcome many of the people who seek safety here, and in turn we benefit enormously from their skills, perspectives and experiences.
What Vinnies does
The St Vincent de Paul Society has a long history of helping migrants and refugees. We do this both by providing services to asylum seekers and refugees in Australia, and by advocating to government on their behalf. Our services include providing financial and information support to migrants and refugees, for example through home visitation, food and financial help, visits to detention centres, and homework centres. There are also dedicated Vinnies migrant and refugee centres and committees in some states, which coordinate these activities and also offer information services. Our advocacy is led by the National Office, and the Vincentian Refugee Network. Advocacy includes spreading the true stories of migrants and refugees, writing submissions to various bodies, media work, and some events. Our main areas of concern are the negative outcomes of detention centres, which we absolutely oppose, and inadequate financial support for refugees and asylum seekers living in the community. For more information read our Refugee Policy as at September 2013 and our latest media release "We are not at war with asylum seekers". Every month Vinnies is taking an in-depth look at social justice issues. This month we are focusing on asylum seekers and refugees. Click here to read their stories.
What can you do?
- Support our migrant and refugee services by donating funds, or supporting our shops.
- Volunteer your time by becoming an English tutor for students in special after school programs.
- Contact the main Vinnies office in your state or territory to find out more about how you can help out.
- Tell your story. Are you a refugee who has been helped by Vinnies? Are you a Vinnies volunteer on the ground helping those who need it the most? We would love to hear from you. Contact us at the National Council office.