Sanctuary End of year update.

Sanctuary Australia FoundationBlog

Season’s Greetings from Nairobi!

Thank you to all our kind donors who have supported these beautiful refugee children to go to school! Sanctuary provides basic help to several underprivlidged refugee families in Kenya and Uganda, where education is not free. Sanctuary helps to cover costs such as a child’s annual school fees, uniform, and books. We’ve had fantastic support for this program with donors providing the much needed education that these children deserve.

“Thank you so much for school fees for the children and for being our supporter in difficult times.”

~ From mother, Jolie, Kenya

Safe at last!

This young refugee family from Myanmar have been suffering as illegals in Malaysia for 12 years. The family dodged immigration officials and desperately tried to find whatever work they could to support themselves, after fleeing the terrible Myanmar military Junta, who attack and kill ethnic minorities like this Chin family. The family are now safe and starting their new life in Coffs Harbour!

Sanctuary General Manager, Mark Hallam with new arrivals.

We have had a recent upsurge in requests for Sanctuary’s interest-free travel loans for sponsored visa approved refugee families. We book the flights through the international Office of Migration (IOM). Once settled in, the loan is gradually repaid by the family over two years, and the funds are then ‘re-cycled’ to assist another needy refugee family. This program has a 100% loan repayment rate!

Recycling to help the planet and former refugees.

Sanctuary has had great support from companies including WorldLine, Evosys Pty Ltd, I-Med Radiology and Manning Support Services, who have all donated good quality laptops (and other tech items) to assist our clients to access online learning, government services and to enable them to connect locally and with families overseas.

Sanctuarys Computer Aid Program has recycled and provided over 70 laptops, diminishing ewaste and recycling them for the benefit of those who cannot easily afford this essential item.

“My sister and I are very grateful for your help. We couldn’t have received this laptop any other way. Thank you so much.”

Saed and Lila*, Iraqi refugees

Ukrainian boy provided with a laptop thanks to Sanctuary and MidCoast Refugee Support Group.

We have been able to support many needy refugees from different backgrounds, including a newly arrived Ukrainian family in Port McQuarie. They now have a laptop to continue their studies, thanks to the alert from MidCoast Refugee Support Group. This Program is making a real impact with digital inclusion for refugee students and their families. If you work for a company that can donate laptops please contact us!

Sponsorship & Migration Support

Sanctuary has continued to support clients seeking advice on migration matters with help from our registered migration agent Cate. Government legal services based in the city are often overwhelmed and unable to provide the required advice and assistance needed. Many refugees are in constant stress and anxiety thinking of loved ones who are at risk of arrest and return to their country to face threats from the very regime they have escaped from.

We have assisted a Burmese lady to apply for an orphan visa for her young brother, a refugee alone in Malaysia. He was 17 when we started and is now 18, and at constant risk of being arrested and thrown into prison as an illegal there. His sister here is struggling with both mental health and physical challenges and worries so much about him every day.

A lady from Iraq has a sister with cerebral palsy and is still waiting in limbo to be approved for a permanent visa. Her sister can then get on NDIS, and she can focus on her job without worrying about rushing home on her work lunch break to check on her sister. We have asked our local MP to support her to get permanent residence and NDIS for her sister.

A lifetime of giving to the community

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Gillian Helfgott at 90, wife of pianist David Helfgott, who passed away after a short illness. They had just completed another European tour.

Gillian and David were wonderful supporters of our work with refugees, holding many fundraising concerts in Bellingen over the years, including opening up their home to the public. She was an amazing woman and we feel honoured to have known her!

ALEXIS – an amazing story!

We want to say a big THANK YOU to all our wonderful supporters who made it possible for refugee Alexis Sebatware to have critical, life-saving spinal surgery 12 weeks ago in Nairobi Kenya.

He received terrible injuries when his area was attacked by rebels in Congo. His spine was smashed with rifle butts and he was kicked and left for dead. Somehow, he survived and managed to reach Kenya, where he met his wife.

Alexis, after his spinal surgery paid for through a bequest given to Sanctuary.

But his health severely deteriorated more and more, affecting his organs and movement, and there was no hope without expensive specialist surgery, unavailable to a refugee with no money.

After searching for months, we contacted a top specialist surgeon in Nairobi who amazingly offered to do the intricate spinal surgery without charge! Thanks to donations from supporters and a bequest from Mr Lewis, we raised the money for the rest of the surgical team and a month of intensive hospital care and convalescence.

Alexis is now fully recovered and back to full health! His wife Jolie and their children are now a very happy family with a hopeful future. The family just had an interview with UNHCR and we are all hoping they will soon get a visa to start a new life with relatives in Canada! This could not have happened without the care and kindness of our supporters – THANK YOU!

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* indicates real names not provided due to privacy concerns.

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