Supporting asylum seekers
Personal letters, cards and visits are greatly appreciated by people in detention. Parents of children who are detained often remark on the joy they receive in watching their children play with Australian children who come to visit. For children under school age there is very little to do, no pre-school / play group to attend. For teenage children, many of whom are without a parent, meeting Australians who care and who are interested in their wellbeing is a joy.
For many, gaining a pen-pal, sharing stories and thoughts is a great respite from the monotony of detention.
Here are just some of the many terrific organisations working to support asylum seekers in detnetion and in the community. Some arrange visits, some arrange much need support items, all are stretched...
ASRC. Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Melbourne
Hills Circle of Friends, Adelaide
RACS, Refugee Advice and Casework Service, Sydney
ChilOut doesn't coordinate visits to detention centres but any Australian has the right to visit any centre. We are working on getting some clear and consistent guidelines from DIAC and Serco (the company who manages Australia's centres).
The terrific team at DASSAN (Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocay Network) have put together a visitors pack which is well worth a read.
For anyone in Darwin, DASSAN organises visits to centres there; email@example.com
Sydney-siders should get in touch with Villawood Vollies
If you would like to take gifts with you to detention centres or send them to centres; ASCI (Asylum Seekers Christmas Island) has put together a useful guide to items that are needed, permitted in... etc