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What has BR4R been doing lately?
We had hoped to get a newsletter out to let you know what we have been doing and what is coming up, but sadly, like many others in our region, our newsletter editor was seriously affected by the floods.
The below I hope gives you a snapshot of what we have achieved/what we are planning/where you can assist.

Flood appeal market
Our tireless Ballina market coordinators Trish and Meg suggested that we donate all the proceeds of one of our market stalls to the Flood Appeal. Given the rain, the first market was held in March and $1500 was raised/donated. This funding was donated in its entirety to the Ballina Rotary Flood appeal. Thanks to all who helped before and after the staff and of course to all who donated.

SCU student and social media
We were very lucky to host an excellent SCE Community Welfare student over the last part of 2021 and into 2022. Our student supported us to think more closely about ways we can use social media. We also now have a small group of volunteers working with us on expanding our use of social media and, as an example, we are currently trialling crowd-funding to raise funds for recently released refugees. Check it out and share the link https://www.facebook.com/donate/327447872630485/

If you would have ideas on publicity/use of social media, please contact Lisa, our Publicity Coordinator through publicity@br4r.org.au.

Bunnings BBQ and resettlement
Thanks to all our great volunteers who ran the Bunnings BBQ in Ballina on 23rd April and to those who munched their way through hundreds of sausages. We are still finalising the profits, but at this stage it looks to be in excess of $2000!

These funds will go to supporting those still on Manus, those living on community detention orders/temp visas in Brisbane and those we hope to support through our resettlement programme.

BR4R, with many other advocacy groups, successfully lobbied the Australian government to introduce a community sponsorship programme akin to that in Canada and New Zealand. Whilst the numbers on the initial programme are far lower than we had hoped, it does give hope that we will see refugees settled in the Byron/Ballina Shires in the not-too-distant future.

Support for those in Afghanistan
Many BR4R volunteers supported a project we ran with Ben Gilmour, a locally based film director, to prepare humanitarian visa applications for those in the creative arts in Afghanistan. With a harsh winter, many of those lost all income. We were pleased to further support Ben by allocating the UNHCR recommended amount of $200 USD directly to a number of those we had assisted with visa applications (total allocated to date in excess of $5000). Together with proceeds of our screening of Ben’s film JIRGA, we received some very generous donations that made this possible.

Funds to support those being released from detention
It was great news to see refugees in various places in Australia released from hotel prisons and detention centres but unfortunately, it seems that many were released late at night and with only $150. We have partnered with a WA refugee advocate, Dawn Barrington, to offer financial support to a number of these individual refugees. Many organisations and individuals in capital cities are offering practical support such as a decent place to stay but cash is required for food/clothes etc. BR4R has allocated an initial $1000 to this very needy group.

Election campaign
BR4R will focus our efforts as an organisation in the Richmond electorate.  This is not exclusive so please feel free to work with your networks in Page. We are focusing on 3 strategies:
  • Distributing postcards that explain the key issues facing refugees and how the parties plan to tackle those. We will distribute those at all BR4R events and to other refugee advocacy groups on the Far North Coast, including churches.
  • Making contact with all of the candidates in Richmond – face to face meetings, phone calls, emails or letters.
  • Using social media, local radio and print media to communicate with voters in Richmond about the current unjust policies and the changes that must be made.
If you can assist, please contact our Election 2022 Coordinator Marilyn Leeks through volunteers@br4r.org.au.
 
Coming up….
Film screening Byron

We are working with Byron Theatre to have a film screening in early June to raise further funds for those being released from closed detention facilities in Australia. Keep an eye on our FB and website for details.

Trivia night, Ocean Shores
On June the 4th our Ocean Shores group (OceanShores4Refugees) is holding a trivia night to raise funds to support the settlement of refugees in our region. All welcome.
Contact Sara through saragloede@yahoo for further details.

Cars for Refugees
One key need when refugees are released into community detention/onto temp visas is the need for transport. We are developing a project that will see us paying for cars to be restored and given to refugees based on a very successful scheme in the Blue Mountains. More news in coming months on this.

Refugee Week 2022, 19th-25th June
The 2022 theme for Refugee Week of ‘Healing’ highlights the importance of human connection, drawing upon shared hardship to heal wounds, learn from each other, and move forward. 
Over several years we have donated contemporary literature for both adults and children on refugee issues to the Richmond Tweed library. In Refugee Week this year, we are working with staff from Ballina library to host an exhibit there around current refugee issues.
We at also are looking at a broader programme of events over this week/month. If you would like to be involved or have any ideas/suggestions for activities, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us through president@br4r,org.au or volunteers@br4r.org.au.

Run for Refugees
Last year we took part in this national event in November and raised more than $8000 (yes $8000) for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. It is likely to be on again this year. We really need a coordinator to make this happen. Could this be you..?? Don’t be shy, contact us through volunteers@br4r.org.au.
 
If you have ideas/like to get involved/ volunteer/be on the Committee for 2022/23, drop us an email to president@br4r.org.au.
Become a member of BR4R
Make a donation today
Make a donation today
Link to BR4R on Facebook

Latest News

For the latest news on matters related to people seeking asylum and refugees please follow these links
Refugee Council of Australia
Kaldor Centre for Refugee Law UNSW
Amnesty International Australia
Ballina Region for Refugees
Website
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Ballina Region for Refugees · PO Box 7083 · East Ballina, NSW 2478 · Australia

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