2. Listen and support colleagues, friends and communities here in Australia
Many of us have family members and loved ones at risk; thousands of people across Australia have deep connections to Afghanistan and this is an extremely difficult and distressing time for them. Be sensitive to the fear and uncertainty this is causing and reach out to support them however you can. You can also make sure your workplace offers support to those impacted by overseas conflict or disasters.
If people are worried about loved ones and cannot contact them, you can refer them to our Restoring Family Links Program.
3. Welcome Toolkit: Ways young people can take action
Use this wonderful Welcome toolkit for your kids, your classroom, and your friends and families. Actions are based on what children in primary school and high school have told us they’ve done to grow a more welcoming Australia in their local communities.
4. Get informed, and listen to the voices of people from Afghanistan
Voices of former refugees, and people with close links to Afghanistan, have been prominent in the public discussion here in Australia. It’s important for all of us to listen and share these perspectives to understand the complexity and impact of the situation, as well as listen to their advice. These voices can also help answer questions and clarify misconceptions or misunderstandings about refugees and people seeking asylum.
To learn more about refugees and people seeking asylum, you can visit:
Photo: Australian Red Cross/Conor Ashleigh
5. Invite a guest speaker to your local school
You can also set up an In Search of Safety session at your school or a Community Conversations session at your workplace or in your community. There are many questions and misunderstandings about people seeking safety. That’s why we offer schools, community groups, and workplaces a chance to discuss the issues they hear about on the news. Learn more or book a session.
6. Volunteer your time with Red Cross
You could offer help with English teaching, navigating life in Australia or anything else new arrivals might need. Volunteering can be a longer-term commitment, so think about whether now is the right time for you. You’ll need to do our training and checks first and so won't be activated immediately. Find out whether we have any volunteer opportunities that are right for you.
Photo: Australian Red Cross/Joao Pedro Alves
7. Register your interest with the Group Mentorship Program
Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia’s 2021 Group Mentorship Program offers a practical way to provide future hands-on support to refugees already in the country. You may be able to help by forming a mentor group of at least five individuals who live in the same geographic community and are keen to provide practical support to refugees.
8. Support your local community
Settling into a new country as a refugee can be a long journey; there are many communities across Australia already welcoming refugees and people seeking asylum. Contact your local council, Welcoming Australia, or local support groups to see how you can support local efforts to welcome our newest Australians. It might also be appropriate to reach out to your local Afghan community to show your solidarity and find out how you can support the community.
The following organisations have some great resources:
9. Give someone an opportunity through employment
Finding work and a place to call home is one of the highest priorities for refugees in Australia. Most are eager to work but find it hard to access the networks many of us take for granted. If you are an employer or know someone who is, then connecting someone to employment someone can transform their life. See here for more advice around what workplaces can do, such as:
- Holding a Community Conversations session (above) with your team
- Supporting diversity in the workplace; this has been found to improve performance and outcomes in a variety of ways, from increased creativity to greater employee commitment.
If you’re an employer, Red Cross and our partner agencies can help you find great candidates. Find out more or register your interest.
10. Help a family find a place to call home.
Stable housing is key to our sense of safety, dignity and wellbeing and is the foundation to effective settlement, however many newly arrived refugees can find it hard to secure a home in the private rental market. If you’re a landlord or real estate agent, we’d love to hear from you.