This week we celebrate Refugee Week.

Refugee Week is a time to celebrate the positive contributions refugees make to our community.

It is also an opportunity to learn how we can support refugees in our community.

The 2022 theme is healing, which reminds us of the importance of human relations.

Ordinary communities and refugee communities can draw on common challenges to heal their wounds, learn from each other and move forward.

Healing can happen through storytelling, community, and awareness of our intrinsic interconnectedness as individuals.

We caught up with Gop Gai, Regional Director of the Australian Red Cross Humanitarian Settlement Programme, to find out how the Red Cross is supporting refugees in our community.

What does the Red Cross do?

The Australian Red Cross plays a vital role in creating safe, fair, welcoming and inclusive communities for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers by ensuring they are protected from harm, can meet their humanitarian needs and have pathways to safe and dignified work.

As a trusted humanitarian organization, we also support local communities and businesses to meaningfully welcome migrants, refugees and asylum seekers across the country. We

  • support people who have lost contact with family members due to conflict, disaster or migration
  • carry out independent humanitarian monitoring visits to places of immigration detention across Australia
  • support newly arrived refugees and humanitarian entrants on their settlement journey through the Humanitarian Settlement Program (in Western Australia, ACT and Southern New South Wales)
  • help expand pathways to safe and dignified work for refugees.

We also work with schools, communities and workplaces across Australia to build their capacity to welcome newly arrived migrants and refugees through a range of initiatives and programs.

How does the Red Cross support refugees in the community?

The Australian Red Cross is contracted by the Department of the Interior to deliver the Australian Government’s Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP) in the ACT.

We help newly arrived refugees and humanitarian entrants to integrate into life in Canberra.

The Red Cross achieves this by helping them acquire the skills and knowledge they need to become self-reliant and active members of the community.

Bilingual Red Cross case managers, volunteers and staff provide settlement support to refugees. This could include

  • meet and orient people when they arrive in Australia
  • find short and long term housing
  • enroll children in school
  • help refugees build links and connections in their local communities.

We also help refugees find jobs and access education and training.

We work closely with other service providers to provide coordinated support to enable a successful settlement journey for newly arrived refugees.

Currently, we support refugees from Myanmar, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Iran, Democratic Republic of Congo and those deemed stateless.

How can the community support the Australian Red Cross to help refugees?

Due to the current housing affordability crisis, it is taking much longer to find long-term housing for our families.

We call on members of the public to help us find suitable accommodation for our families.

If you are a private landlord or estate agent, please contact us by emailing [email protected]

As the cost of living continues to rise the impact is great on our families, to help ease these financial pressures we are asking for food donations. Donations can be dropped off at our office, Red Cross House, Level 1, 3 Dann Close in Garran.

We also accept gift card donations through GIVIT.

All donations go directly to affected families.

We also strongly encourage financial donations to help us provide the essentials that newly arrived refugees need to get back on their feet.

If you would like to donate, you can go to the Australian Red Cross websiteexternal link.

Page updated: June 22, 2022