Emergency Support Service – Amir

Emergency Support Service – Amir

Give people like Amir the support they need, when they need it most
Amir had nothing but the clothes on his back and a basic campfire for warmth
With your help, people like Amir can access urgent support through ARA’s Emergency Support Service. Will you please send a very kind gift to keep the service running?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense suffering for so many members of refugee communities. Lives have been thrown into turmoil. Jobs, homes and financial security lost. People are desperate.

People like Amir had just begun daring to hope that freedom and happiness was within reach…only to have it ripped away.

ARA is seeing an unprecedented demand for support right now.

Case workers have been working around the clock to address the immediate and long-term needs of everyone who reaches out to us, with food vouchers, rent payments, bill payments, employment training, counselling and parenting support.

To deliver this support we have leaned heavily on ARA’s newly established, life-changing Emergency Support Service, using funding that is only available thanks to the kindness of our wonderful donor community.

Many hundreds of people have been helped via ARA’s Emergency Support Service, during the most incredibly challenging year this country has faced in recent history.

But sadly, this is only the beginning. The long-term impact of this pandemic on our community and economy is still unknown. Each day we hear another heartbreaking story of urgent need. I know you care deeply and have shown tremendous support for people like Amir. So now I must ask for your kindness.

We urgently need to boost funding for our Emergency Support Service to meet demand as the long term effects of the pandemic play out. Your generous gift today will help bring comfort to people in desperate need; people like Amir and many families. Will you please help?

Amir knew his journey to freedom and happiness would not be easy.

When he fled his home country, he left behind his family, friends, everything he knew, to save his life. The religious and social persecution had become so dangerous, he was frightened to leave his house. He felt trapped, alone and afraid.

“The boat to Australia had 74 people. It was amazing journey, very scary. I didn’t know what will happen,” said Amir.

Arriving in Australia after a treacherous journey by sea, Amir was held in an offshore detention centre. He has great difficulty talking about his experience, but says he felt completely trapped, like ‘a bird in a cage’.

Finally, after waiting an agonising eight years, Amir was released on a temporary protection visa to live in Brisbane. He began to try and create a life for himself there, but he wanted a smaller, quieter community.

A passionate nature lover who craves being outdoors, Amir was still seeking somewhere peaceful he felt he could really call ‘home’.

Amir had heard about the beauty and serenity of Adelaide, and when a new friend offered him a place to stay there, Amir took a chance, changed his plans and headed for South Australia. At first it seemed life was heading in the right direction. But soon after he arrived in Adelaide, COVID-19 hit hard. Amir could not find work and due to his temporary protection visa status, he was ineligible for emergency financial support. Unable to pay rent and in severe distress, he left his friend’s home with nowhere to go.

Fortunately, at this time, Amir was connected with ARA. I am so grateful this happened, because Amir had nowhere to go and no one to help him. He was in danger of falling through the cracks in the system.

Just like Amir, people in South Australia’s refugee communities arrived here with hopes for a better life. But the impact of COVID-19 has been widespread, causing financial and emotional distress. Right now we need your kindness more than ever before. Are you able to please send a gift towards ARA’s Emergency Support Service, to help provide safe, secure emergency accommodation for people like Amir?

When Amir came to us, we cared for him in ARA’s office for 24 hours while working frantically to find him a place to stay. ARA was able to arrange a night in a motel, but the next day, in extreme distress at his situation, Amir disappeared.

Amir wanted to escape from the stress and uncertainly – he felt he needed to be in nature. He travelled to bushland in the Adelaide Hills and found a cave for shelter. In the depths of a freezing cold winter, and still at risk from this pandemic, Amir had nothing – no food, only the clothes on his back and a basic campfire he made for warmth.

Amir’s dedicated case worker, Hind, was desperately worried about Amir, and pleaded with him via phone calls and text message to return to ARA for help. Finally, he responded and returned. Hind and other support staff swung into action and found a generous host family through ARA’s network of supporters, so Amir had a safe place to stay. Then they began intensive counselling with Amir and helped him with financial assistance.

This is just one example of what happens at ARA every day.

ARA is well-known for this intense, compassionate casework and the dedication of staff like Hind.

This level of care is well beyond the limits of government funded relief, which is why your support makes such a profound impact. Funds from ARA’s Emergency Support Service give our case workers the agency and freedom to act urgently when needed, and not be restricted by a strict set of criteria.

Practical assistance can take many forms – emergency accommodation, medication costs, bus or taxi fares to get to job interviews, groceries for a few days or bedding. Sometimes, the assistance required is not clear cut. Intensive case worker support is required to help a person through each step back to an independent way of life.

If a neighbour comes to you desperate for help, do you pull out a checklist before deciding what to do? Neither do I. ARA’s Emergency Support Service is not only a lifeline, it preserves a person’s dignity, saving them the additional distress of being ‘assessed’. There are no delays, and no further rounds of ticks and crosses.

We need your help so we can act quickly to help people like Amir. ARA’s Emergency Support Service means we can provide the basics – like food vouchers, furniture, kitchen equipment and bedding, or help people like Amir learn the skills they need to confidently apply for a job, giving them financial independence. Will you please send an urgent gift?

When the host family met Amir, there was an instant and warm connection. It was the turning point he needed.

Amir had felt so powerless and felt like a ‘burden’. He wanted to stand on his own two feet. This host family assured him that in partnership with ARA, they would help him gain the independence, happiness and freedom he so desperately wanted. This is the power of ARA’s Emergency Support Service. Case workers use funds to help people like Amir who are at great risk of falling through the cracks. This is a proactive service, offering critical short-term assistance, creating a path for support over the long-term.

Within weeks, Amir began to completely turn his life around.

Being with the host family gave Amir the security and friendship he needed. Soon, he began to take big steps to take control of his life. With help from ARA, he found a job in a cafe.

“Now I have my own place. Everything is awesome and beautiful and I love. I live by the beach and every day I watch the seabirds fly and I feel at peace.”

We are hearing so many devastating stories as we battle the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic – Amir’s story is just one of them. Settlement can be a long, hard road and his journey to freedom is far from over. We must be there as he continues to make sense of the world.

Support for people like Amir must be available 24/7, whenever it is needed, because crises don’t always happen 9-5. That’s why I need your support again, to keep ARA’s Emergency Support Service up and running.

Because if we do not support people like Amir at their darkest hour, who will?

If not you and me, who will help them? Can I count on your support?

Yours sincerely,

Deb Stringer
CEO, Australian Refugee Association

PS. We must continue to support Amir and people like him, as they recover from
trauma and seek to find comfort and safety. Will you please send an incredibly
kind gift to help ARA’s Emergency Support Service?

Donate to the Emergency Support Service

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