Every day, ARA case workers juggle to support courageous women, men and young people who struggle to settle in a new country as the cost of living soars.

Too often, the desperate need for help is overwhelming – school shoes for the kids, rent, food, medical bills and the cost of finding a job. That’s when many refugee and migrant families turn to ARA for urgent help.

In 2020, ARA set up our Emergency Support Service. Generous support from donors like you means our bi-cultural case workers can deliver urgent, practical help to vulnerable people.

‘Sometimes I see a client park her car outside our office. That makes me super happy,’ says senior case worker Hind. ‘She got her driver’s licence with help from our Emergency Support Service.’

‘Another time, we helped a man get a job as a baker,’ says Hind. ‘Every now and then he brings us a plate of bread and falafels. ‘My heart melts and I feel so happy because he’s able to support his family and they’re settled’

The ‘way to settlement’ is often a long road for people who have fled from persecution, war and trauma. ‘I had an elderly man crying to me because he couldn’t pay his rent,’ says senior case worker Halia. He was on the verge of becoming homeless.’ ARA stepped in to tide him over and he’s now seeking a job.

That is why the Emergency Support Service is also harnessed for counselling, TAFE courses to learn job skills and courses to help refugees and migrants live, learn, work and enjoy community life in Australia.

‘We cannot judge why people can’t get a job,’ Halia says. ‘People may be unemployed for several other reasons, apart from their mental health. Language, accessibility, finding an employment service where people will look after you. There are so many other barriers.’



Even reaching out for help from ARA can be a barrier for proud, resilient people. ‘At the end of the day, no one wants to go and beg unless it is absolutely necessary,’ says Halia.

Hind echoes this reluctance. ‘Everyone feels embarrassed to ask,’ she says. ‘People don’t always tell you what they need straight away. You have to have a couple of meetings to build trust.’ This approach often reveals needs beyond the immediate, like help with rent, a fridge or school uniforms.

Case workers also tap into the Emergency Support Service to have skills qualifications recognised in Australia. ‘We had a pharmacist who had qualifications from where he came from’, says Halia. ‘He needed a little help to get him through tests he could not afford because they’d just had a new baby. If we help, he’ll become a recognised pharmacist and will contribute to society.’ Now he’s working and doing really well.’

Hind says flexible support from the Emergency Support Service made a ‘huge difference’ to a woman whose husband left her. ‘She didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know how to get support and did not know the system because she was new to this land.’ Family separations like this need immediate attention, while over time, the Emergency Support Service helps deliver stability and opportunities. ‘People often come for help to pay bills. We find they have not enrolled in TAFE, don’t know how to apply for citizenship, don’t know how to drive, or doesn’t have the English to get a job.’

With back up from the emergency support fund, ARA caseworkers connect people to employment, education, health and other services and agencies ‘The mum gets to drive, they both get citizenship, the father is now working part time and we got NDIS support for the daughter who has a disability.’

Similarly, two young sisters recently referred to Youth Case worker Ma-Musu, one of the sisters had recently found she was pregnant shortly after arriving in Australia.

‘With her school case worker, we supported her with doctor appointments, gathered donations and used our emergency fund to cover some baby necessities.’

The other sisters’ focus was to gain employment and enroll in school to support her family. With additional support, we were able to find her a hairdressing job while she completed a semester at Thebarton Senior College and later a Certificate at TAFE.

The emergency support service covered the cost of her course and she’s now able to support her family.

‘She’s gained confidence and self-sufficiency through her strength and persistence’ says Ma-Musu

The road to settlement and safety can vary so much for the people we support, it’s not just the material things, it is as much to support people to build themselves along their road here.

It’s a long road for courageous women, men and young people. But ARA is making a difference thanks to your kind support with donations to our Support Service.


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