Our 2018 Christmas Voucher Appeal is here - see below for info!

About the Campaign 

Give Hope is an initiative of the Uniting Social Justice Forum on behalf of Synod and our partners.

This grew from rising church, organisation and community concern about how people seeking asylum are treated by Australia - in the community and in offshore detention - and about the plight of refugees worldwide. 

Our campaign advocates for a more compassionate, respectful and humanitarian response to this issue. It aims to raise awareness and help give practical support for those living in the NSW/ACT community.

As this global humanitarian crisis forces millions from their homes, we’re urging the Australian government to provide fairer process and permanent protection, increase our humanitarian intake, help resettle offshore detainees in Australia and establish a new regional protection framework.

As a global citizen and signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, Australia has a responsibility to protect people who desperately need shelter. We need YOU to show our leaders the groundswell of support for lending a hand.

The Sydney Palm Sunday Rally, 25 March 2018

Deputy Premier John Barilaro and speakers at the 2017 TAFE Campaign Celebration, Nov 2017

Jon from Give Hope presents a Community Action Workshop at Roseville Uniting Church, Nov 2017

Christmas is a time for giving and for sharing love and light with people around us. A time to be thankful for what we have and to show generosity to others. For those doing it tough in our community, this time can be particularly difficult and isolating.

For people seeking asylum living in our community, their lives are full of fear and uncertainty. These people continue to wait anxiously for the outcome of their visa applications, while trying to survive and support their families through great hardship. Some are alone in Australia, with their loved ones far away. 

These people receive minimal financial assistance and support while trying to find employment or take care of their children. Some are being cut off from the essential services they need – such as access to trauma and torture counselling and casework support.

The Uniting Church has a strong and proud history of defending the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum and members have given kindly and generously to people in the community who desperately need practical assistance. This Christmas, we're asking you to continue this proud tradition and donate to the 2018 Give Hope Christmas Voucher Appeal.  We know that WE CAN DO BETTER for people seeking asylum - and the Christmas Appeal is a good place to start.

  1. Purchase a gift card or voucher to an amount of your choice. It could be a supermarket or department store voucher or even a gift card for a pharmacy, cinema or sports store.
  2. Send the voucher/s to: Give Hope Team,PO Box 7137, Silverwater NSW 2128
  3. Spread the word about the appeal and share this POSTER with your church group, congregation, family etc. 

The vouchers donated will be handed over to some of the key agencies working directly with people seeking asylum – including those who have lost all access to support services. These agencies are working hard to help these people survive and begin to rebuild their lives in Australia. The agencies are: Jesuit Refugee Service, The Asylum Seekers Centre at Newtown and House of Welcome.

For more information on the current situation and on the appeal, contact Alex Hogan: ahogan@uniting.org 

Policy affecting people seeking asylum  is the toughest it’s ever been. The harm caused by these policies is widespread and widely reported.

We're now in the leadup to a federal election – when critical decisions about policy on this issue will be made. We need local MPs to see and hear their constituents talking about this issue. The feedback we get from MPs is that more people from the community need to be knocking on their door if any change is to be won.

The Uniting Church has a long and proud history of defending rights of refugees and people seeking asylum. It's more important than ever to remind your local MP that "we can do better" for refugees and people seeking asylum. This is a simple but very effective action you can take at this critical time - it carries more weight than many other campaigning methods.

How we can help

We can be with you as you make contact with your MP’s office, prepare for the meeting, and debrief afterwards. We have RESOURCES to help you speak confidently and powerfully to your MP about the situation for people seeking asylum - most importantly, to explain WHY this issue matters to you and WHY you wish to see change. We can provide information on particular policy areas where change is needed that you can discuss in the meeting – SEE THIS GUIDE. This will help you focus and make the most out of your conversation. 

Organising a delegation

  • In some cases you and people in your congregation will be the lead delegation to meet your MP – that's great and we can be there to help you organise and prepare.
  • In other electorates, there may already be delegations visiting the MP on this same issue - so we can connect you with them. In this case you may wish to select a spokesperson from your congregation to accompany this group, or even seek an additional meeting if the delegation is full.
  • In each scenario you'll be fully briefed and trained (if needed) for the meeting - and given support before, during and after it. We want you to feel comfortable, confident and fully prepared.

Next steps

  • If you're interested in visiting your MP, please contact Alex Hogan at ahogan@uniting.org or on 02 9407 3230 / 0423 503 998. We can then find out if there's a delegation in your electorate and help you with scheduling the meeting.
  • In the meantime, you can easily and quickly EMAIL YOUR MP on this issue. The email can be edited as you wish.

More people are on the move than ever before.

War, terror and poverty have created an unprecedented global humanitarian crisis of 65.6 million forcibly displaced people - 20 people every minute.

According to UNHCR, each day over 28,000 people are forced to flee their homes to escape violence and persecution. Among those forcibly displaced are 22.5 million refugees, searching for safety and seeking asylum. 

These are ordinary people - forced to take great risk and show extraordinary courage to survive unimaginable terrors,  leaving their homeland to build a new life for themselves and their families. These people have much to offer our community, if we allow them to “call Australia home”.

Every human has the legal and moral right to seek safety and asylum - regardless of origin, race, language or religion. In the face of the current humanitarian crisis, a global response is needed to protect and uphold these rights. So what's been Australia's response

The Give Hope campaign is one way of responding to this crisis. We work within the Uniting Church and the wider Australian community to advocate for change - for better laws and policies to help people live and flourish, with a chance to make their own luck in our Lucky Country.

Email your MP:

Getting in contact with your Federal MP is a great way to show them that their constituents are passionate about this, and want change. We’ve made it super easy for you – simply click the link, enter your address and either send the pre-filled message or add new words of your own. This is your chance to tell our leaders that WE CAN DO BETTER for refugees and people seeking asylum – make it count!

Community Action Workshops for your congregation or community 

We've teamed up with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre for their #RightTrack Campaign to help change the conversation about refugees and people seeking asylum and create a more compassionate response. This is a 4hr program delivered by Give Hope and the ASRC for those who already support these people in need - but who want to learn more about how to change the situation. Please contact Alex Hogan at Give Hope to discuss holding a workshop - ahogan@uniting.org / 02 9407 3230

Nauru and Manus Island:       

The situation in offshore detention remains at crisis point. The sector-wide #KidsOffNauru campaign calls for the immediate evacuation of all children detained on Nauru. See the President of the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly, Deidre Palmer's statement. We've heard how harmful this offshore processing regime has been for people detained for years. We must continue to urge the Australian Government to act compassionately, evacuate the camps and bring people to safety before more lives are lost. 

For more information on the current situation contact Alex Hogan at the SJF Team: ahogan@uniting.org 

#LetThemStay  

In 2017 we heard of a group of men, women and children, transferred to Australia for medical treatment, being threatened with state-imposed destitution. This group was at risk - but, thanks to the #LetThemStay campaign, they were allowed to remain here. Now they're at risk of losing all financial support and housing - a deliberate attempt to make life so unbearable that they have no choice but to return to danger. This decision could see hundreds of vulnerable people - including children and female victims of sexual assault -  thrown on the streets, without money or a place to live. How you can help: 
-Email the Prime Minister and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to demand a better way! We’ve made it easy for you to express your concern about the recent decisions. Simply follow this link, edit the message text as you wish, and send: https://socialjusticeforum.good.do/letthemstay/letthemstay/

Practical Support:       

Each year we run voucher appeals to provide essential practical help to refugees and people seeking asylum in the community. We invite members of our church and the wider community to take part by purchasing a gift card or voucher for a supermarket, department store, pharmacy, sports store or cinema, and send them to us. It's up to you how much each voucher is worth. We then hand over all the vouchers to the team at Settlement Services International, who working directly with people seeking asylum in the community. To get involved, send vouchers via post to: Give Hope Team, PO Box 7137 Silverwater NSW 2128. 

#WeCanDoBetter symbolic action:

Taking part in this symbolic action is a powerful way to say We Can Do Better for people seeking asylum. This is a great activity to get your family, friends, colleagues and church community involved in - the more the better! 

Just print out the sign (make enough copies for everyone), take a picture of your group holding the signs and, on the flip-side, write a message to your local MP in the space provided. This should be a message from the heart, telling your MP why you think we can do better for people seeking asylum. Be sure to sign off with your name, then send these in the mail to your local MP's office. We'd also love you to share the picture of your group with us - please email it to socialjustice@uniting.org. Download a copy of the sign from the 'Resources' tab below. 

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter for live campaign updates, pictures and action alerts.

For resources and more background information please go to our resources page