Open our hearts for the Syrian Community
Thousands of Syrian refugees have arrived in Australia having fled conflict in their home country.
The scale of the humanitarian crisis that is occurring is beyond imagination.
Every day thousands of people are seeking refuge with little other than the clothes on their backs. They join more than four million who have fled this conflict in the last four years.
Uniting Church President Stuart McMillan has launched a national Syrian Appeal asking people to generously support the UCA’s involvement.
Uniting Church congregations and UnitingCare and will have an important role welcoming the refugees and providing greatly needed support and professional services.
UnitingCare National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds, member of the Government National Task Force said, “What we will need from UCA members is people to welcome our incoming traumatised, resilient and hopeful friends into their lives as friends and into their communities. This must be a long run and genuine welcoming to really integrate people into Australian life.”
Facts from about Syrian refugees living in Australia and on their way;
- There will be no “allocation” of people. The new intake of Syrian refugees will come to Australia to be permanently settled. As such, they will settle where they choose.
- Until we are able to find the persecuted groups that the Australian Government has prioritised, assess them, stabilise them, and work with them, we do not know where they will wish to settle.
- We know that refugees more often than not choose to start off life in a new country near people they know, or at least, people from their own country and culture.
- Already around 70% of the Syrian refugees who have made Australia their home live in Sydney.
- The recently announced new intake of 12,000 refugees will not be housed in people’s homes. Under the Government Settlement scheme they will be entitled to housing and support services as they resettle. As importantly, these are people who are coming to Australia directly out of the crisis situation. They will be severely traumatised. UnitingCare agencies will play a key role in this mobilisation of professional services.
- In addition to the new intake of 12,000 there are more than 25,000 asylum seekers already living across Australia. This group faces an uncertain future as their claims for refugee status are processed. This may take up to three years.
- While most have work rights (or receive limited payments if they have no work) and access to Medicare they remain very vulnerable. They live supported by amazing Australians from churches and other movements and will continue to need support into the future. It is this population that we might consider welcoming into our homes and also assisting by offering goods and financial help.
- There are more than 9000 asylum seekers living in NSW, most in the south and south western suburbs of Sydney. A small number live in the ACT.
- We may receive some Syrian permanent settling refugees before Christmas or shortly thereafter. These processes take time.
You can help by supporting the Syrian Appeal
“As we observe from a distance, we must remember that God values every human life. We mourn every life lost and pray for those who are suffering.
“Along with your prayers I ask that you do what you can to support. As Australians we are blessed to live in a prosperous country relatively free of armed conflict.
“If you are able, please share of God’s abundance by giving generously to the Uniting Church Syrian Refugee Appeal.” Uniting Church President Stuart McMillan.
In addition to supporting activities within the UCA community that offer welcome and integration, donations will also support the Uniting Church’s community service agencies (UnitingCare) as they provide support beyond those that are funded by the government.
Please note: Donations to UCA Welcome & Integration activities are non- tax-deductible. Donations to UnitingCare services are tax-deductible.
Please donate here