It is with much appreciation that BASF acknowledges the receipt of grants from the following organisations:-
Earlwood-Bardwell Park RSL Club $4,000
Mobile: 0402 614 586
Newtown NSW 2042
Bridge for Asylum Seekers Foundation is a committee of UnitingCare NSW ACT and donations to the Foundation of $2.00 and over are tax
ABN 78 722 539 923.
Bridge for Asylum Seekers Foundation (BASF) was officially launched on 11 June 2003 by a broad coalition of churches, human rights groups, union members, political representatives and individuals. The Bridge in the title refers to the bridge we provide for asylum seekers between their applications for protection and their Permanent Protection Visa. But it could also stand for the “Bridge over troubled water” as they transit the difficult path towards safety in Australia.
The asylum seekers for whom the bridge is provided are on Bridging Visas or special category visas. All have a well-founded fear of persecution if they return to their home countries, but have inadequate means of survival in Australia. The Foundation came into existence in order to raise money through donations and grants, to give financial assistance to this group of people.
All of this group, many of whom are children, live in the community – some with friends; some with Australian citizens who are interested in the plight of asylum seekers; and some with other asylum seekers who have been able to find jobs.
Money is always a problem. It can often take more than two years, and sometimes even four to five years, before Permanent Residence is finally given to them, and although in most cases, sponsors are able to provide food and accommodation, they can rarely provide money for medical expenses or personal expenses such as phone cards, transport fares, or even such things as shaving cream or toothpaste. Often the sponsors themselves are struggling to survive financially.
The majority of asylum seekers are not working. Even if they break through the bureaucratic process and are granted work rights – which also entitle them to Medicare – they are unable to find work because they are traumatised and/or don’t speak English, and/or their visa is for only a few weeks or months and employers are loath to employ them. There is nothing to do and nowhere to go.
In some cases the asylum seekers live in absolute poverty. At times there may be no food in the house and children may need urgent medical attention and clothing. They live close to despair, relying entirely on the goodwill of friends and the community.
Every month, BASF provides supplementary living assistance to these individuals and families to enable them to survive. Since our inception, and depending on our available funds, we have provided supplementary assistance to between 35 and 120 individuals at any one time. They have come from countries which grossly and flagrantly abuse human rights including China, North Korea, Burma and other Asian countries; Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and other, Middle Eastern countries; African countries; and the Indian sub-continent.
The period for which we provide support varies from person to person. In some cases we have provided only a small emergency payment for one or 2 weeks, while other payments may be ongoing for months or years. We are still helping an asylum seeker who came to us in 2008. We cease support when recipients no longer meet our strict criteria; when they are granted the permanent residency for which they applied; or when, sadly, they are removed because their claims have failed.
Our regular Newsletter provides current information about our activities, including the number of people we are assisting, our successes, forthcoming fund raising events and a profile of one of our cases.
NEWS & EVENTS
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