On Tuesday evening 21/7/23, the Melbourne offices of Gilbert & Tobin opened its doors and welcomed attendees to Pride Foundation Australia’s latest fundraiser towards LGBTQIA+ refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia. The aim of the event was both to raise awareness of PFA’s Rainbow Refugee sub-fund and encourage donations from attendees. The event showcased two organisations Pride Foundation Australia is working with to support individual LGBTIQ+ refugees to settle in Australia; Kat Parker from Secular Rescue and Lisa Button from Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia.
Kat spoke about being the only Australian case worker within Secular Rescue, supporting people seeking asylum from persecution in a range of countries, and how she has assisted many people to access humanitarian visa and migrate to Australia. She gave an example of a Yemeni lesbian couple and their children from Saudi Arabia who are seeking asylum as they are currently stateless and subject to constant abuse for being themselves.
Kat worked with Pride Foundation Australia as the proposers for a gay couple from Afghanistan- Sajeed and Javid, who obtained visas and arrived in Melbourne in early April this year. Sajeed and Javid were also attendees of the event, and spoke about the impossibility of living as a gay couple in Afghanistan and briefly of their journey via Pakistan to Melbourne. Within just a few months, they are already working and enjoying life here with a community of people who are supporting their settlement.
Lisa spoke about the CRISP pilot and the value of building small sponsorship groups around Australia to support individual refugees over their first settlement year. Also about their aim to build ‘specialist’ support groups including LGBTIQA+ hand-in-hand with Forcibly Displaced People Network (FDPN). PFA has worked with CRSA since the early days to enable an LGBTIQA+ focus in their work.
The audience also heard from Emily, who arrived from El Salvador just 10 days before the event through the CRISP program and is being hosted and supported by PFA Board Chair Dr Ruth McNair and Rhonda Brown.
If you missed this event, but want to learn more about our work in supporting the safe settlement of LGBTQIA+ Refugees and people seeking asylum, learn more about our Refugee Sub-Fund, or the LGBTQIA+ refugee community sponsorship program between CRISP and FDPN.
Please don’t hesitate to donate to our LGBTIQ refugee program of work if you can – everything helps us to continue this important support.