About the Campaign 

Give Hope is an initiative of the Uniting Advocacy Team 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.

 

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

Do you wish you could have more open conversations with family, friends and neighbors about the needs and rights of people seeking asylum?

Have you been frustrated when discussion gets stuck in the same old stereotypes and perceptions?

Would you like to see a shift in the way we speak about this issue and a more compassionate response towards refugees and people seeing asylum?

In 2018, Uniting staff from the Advocacy Team partnered 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 through Community Action Workshops. Workshops have been held in Uniting Church and other communities, from Sydney’s north shore and south west to the Hunter region and Wagga Wagga in far western NSW. The workshop was recently evaluated, and has been transformed into a newer and better version called Breakthrough Conversations.

This grassroots strategy is about teaching practical skills and strategies to help people have more positive, effective and values-based conversations about this highly politicised and sometimes divisive issue. Connecting personal narrative and values to the issue, the workshops help people avoid reinforcing opposing views and language that contribute to negative perceptions around refugees. Key messaging principles in the workshop were developed from the findings of ground-breaking, sector-commissioned “Words That Work” research by Anat Shenker-Osorio. We hope they can help achieve sustainable, long term change in community attitudes and policy affecting people seeking asylum.  

How to get involved

 We can come to your Church, community or workplace to deliver this practical workshop where participants will:

  • hear about the ‘Words that Work’ research findings
  • develop skills to have persuasive conversations about this issue and learn who you should have them with
  • meet like-minded people who want to make a positive difference

Contact the Give Hope Team to learn more or lock in a date for a workshop: socialjustice@uniting.org  or t. 02 9407 3230

 

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

In a new phase of government we need to re-group and talk to our local MPs on this issue. They've told us more people from the community need to knock 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 these people. 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 the 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. You may want to send a congregation spokesperson to accompany this group, or 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 socialjustice@uniting.org  or tel. 02 9407 3230We 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 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!

Breakthrough Conversation 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 Give Hope to discuss holding a workshop - socialjustice@uniting.org  or tel. 02 9407 3230

Nauru and Manus Island:       

The situation in offshore detention remains at crisis point. 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 or updated information contact Give Hope: advocacy@uniting.org  or t. 02 9407 3230

#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

 

The 2019 Christmas Voucher Appeal is currently on! With your help, we can provide a Christmas gift of hope to vulnerable children, young adults and families seeking asylum and living in our communities.

 

Sadly, thousands of people living and raising families close to home are weeks away from disaster. They face long delays in assessing their refugee claims – while they face increasing cuts to government support such as the Status Resolution Support Service program, meaning they’re less able to meet health and other needs while waiting for their immigration status to be clarified.  

 

We partner with support agencies, including the Jesuit Refugee Service, House of Welcome and the Asylum Seekers Centre, that are providing an increasing level of emergency relief in a crisis of homelessness and hunger. These agencies distribute your vouchers as a form of wrap around support to people seeking asylum during critical moments of their journey.

 

The following is a story from Mohammed whose voucher has helped him on his journeys.

"Mohammed arrived in Australia with one small suitcase, and a huge amount of resilience. He had no friends, family or community connections, and found himself with no place to live and no one to turn to. When Mohammed met with House of Welcome, he was sleeping rough in a park in Western Sydney. House of Welcome was able to arrange a safe place for Mohammed to stay, and were able to give him a voucher which allowed him to top up his opal card to travel to his new accommodation. He was also able to purchase essential clothes and personal hygiene items to allow him to live comfortably and with dignity." 

 

What type of vouchers are needed?

To look at our Giving Guide please go to our resources pageNo voucher amount is too small, and will go towards a range of support kits.

 

How long will the appeal run for?

The appeal will run across the Christmas period until the 31st December. We understand there are many pressures and commitments during the festive season, and feel free to get in touch if you want to send your donations afterwards.

 

How can I send my voucher?

 

There are 2 main ways to send the vouchers. 

 

1. Send it to us by mail

PO Box 7137 

Silverwater NSW 2128 

 

2. Buy it online and send it via a digital e-voucher to socialjustice@uniting.org  

 

Feel free to include a Christmas message that will be passed onto the family or person seeking asylum.