The not-for-profit Asylum Seeker Resource Centre – which has a base in Footscray – is holding an Australia-wide telethon to raise awareness and funds to support refugees and asylum seekers.
The telethon will be held on June 20 – World Refugee Day – and the ASRC aims to raise $300,000 to provide 12,000 nights of shelter to hundreds of people seeking safety, 1699 mental health appointments, and one year of food and groceries for 45 families seeking asylum.
In its second year, a team of more than 40 Australian identities including Samuel Johnson, Missy Higgins, Sam Pang together with ASRC volunteers and staff, will man the phones at the ASRC from 6am to midnight accepting donations. A donation station will also be set up on level one at Highpoint Shopping Centre from 10am to 6pm.
Founded by Kon Karapanagiotidis in 2001, the ASRC supports and empowers more than 3000 people seeking asylum and refugees each year. Last year, the telethon raised $285,000.
Former asylum seeker Flor Sedighi of Avondale Heights was among those the ASRC has helped. Ms Sedighi arrived in Melbourne in 2014 from Iran on a student visa aiming to study International Business, leaving behind her parents, sibling and friends.
“I lived with a friend’s family in Preston before renting a unit with my husband,” Ms Sedighi said.
“At first I was overwhelmed, but as I became more familiar with Melbourne I appreciated its friendliness, multiculturalism and beauty.
“The centre helped me to build my confidence through volunteering at the centre and holding two jobs at the time, through my support networks and colleagues.
“The centre helped me to overcome the complexities and challenges of living and working in a new country and environment.”
Telethon callers are invited to make a pledge and donate on the telethon hotline from 7am until 8.30pm on 1300 692 772.