Back to Work
I returned home from hospital in March and recuperated at home until the end of April so my life is returning to some sort of normality.
It is a long time since our last newsletter but the BASF Management Committee has been very busy upgrading its procedures, preparing applications for funding to Clubs and other groups which provide funding to charities such as BASF.
As many of you already know we held a Sultan’s Feast fundraiser lunch at the Efendy Restaurant in Balmain on 26th June. We are very thankful to Efendy’s owner Somer, his staff and his brother-in-law Fatih, who discussed elements of the feast with John Newton (the well-known food writer and critic). It was a wonderful feast and fantastic experience for all those present.
Efendy is such a popular venue, and the first Sultan’s Feast such a success, that we’ve been encouraged to arrange the next Sultan’s Feast – lunch on Sunday, 24 July. Thank you again to Somer and team at Efendy and to John Newton for their generosity in agreeing to be there for us the second time around.
Special Thanks to Our Supporters
BASF is extremely grateful to those kind people in the community who provide the wherewithal to keep the Foundation going. It is the donations from these people which mean that we can continue to assist asylum seekers living in the Sydney metropolitan area. Donations come to us in different forms – made on a regular basis through direct debit authorities or regular credit card payments, and as one-off donations.
Our particular thanks also go to the registered clubs of NSW which, through the Community Development Support Expenditure program, provide funds to BASF. All Clubs that raise in excess of $1 million in revenue from poker machines in NSW must by law provide a proportion of their income to charities.
Recently we have received $9,000 from both the Club Five Dock and Canada Bay Club, for which we are extremely grateful.
And of course, we are particularly grateful for the ongoing, generous financial support from the City of Sydney and Leichhardt Councils which has continued over a number of years.
At any time we are assisting around 70 asylum seekers living in dire straits awaiting final approvals for their visas. These approvals often take a long time because the political situations in the asylum seekers’ countries of origin are often unstable and it’s difficult to verify claims. We only assist asylum seekers who we believe are genuine refugees and who would be persecuted, tortured or killed in their homeland. Their claims must meet the criteria of the UN Human Rights Conventions including the Refugee Convention, Convention against Torture, Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Internal Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Since launching BASF in June 2003 we have provided financial assistance for 552 adults, 123 children and young people. This financial year we have provided help to asylum seekers from North Korea, Mongolia, Algeria, Burundi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and Cameroon, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Lebanon (Palestinians), Iran, Iraq, Aceh; Nepal; Burma and China.
A Case History
About 3 years ago, we received news of a man from northern Asia who’d just been released from detention. We were told that he’d found temporary accommodation with a fellow refugee, in a dilapidated bedsit, but that he wasn’t coping very well. It sounded like he needed some help! When we first met Navin*, he was traumatised from his time in detention, the wait for his visa claim to be settled and, of course, the ordeal which led him to flee his country. He was also suicidal.
While he was relieved to be out of detention, Navin now faced difficulties which only added to his stressed state. The long wait while his papers were processed and the constant uncertainty of whether he’d be accepted as a refugee or forced to return to his homeland, where he feared being imprisoned, tortured or killed was enormously distressing for Navin. Adding to this was the immediate problem of having no money to live on while waiting for an indefinite period to have his application processed.
The basic financial support that Navin received from BASF paid for his transport to the regular DIAC appointments that were compulsory for his visa renewals. This support also helped him to get to appointments with his pro bono lawyer, to visit the Asylum Seeker Centre and to buy some food and other necessities.
One of our BASF friends took Navin in temporarily, helping him to become well again and supporting him through his application process. After an 18 month wait, life for Navin took a turn for the better. He received his permanent resident status, and without the stress from constantly worrying he would be sent back to his homeland, he was able to get well enough to find work and start supporting himself.
Since that time things have continued to improve for Navin. He has been accepted into University where he is working towards a degree, he has a part-time job and, most exciting of all, he has applied for Australian citizenship! So, he will soon be an Australian and will no longer need to fear for his safety.
*Not his real name.
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