A mother and her two children from Iran will be welcomed to the community after Bundaberg Friends of Refugees successfully raised funds to support the family's resettlement.
In the short five months since establishing Bundaberg Friends of Refugees, the group of 13 locals has gained momentum and are proud to announce they will welcome their first refugee family to the region in April.
Bundaberg Friends of Refugees president Tessa Thomson said the group was a mix of “everyday Australians” made up of mums and dads, teachers, retired locals and business owners, who all had the same goal of wanting to make a difference.
Tessa said they were excited to meet the refugee family and amazed at the generosity and compassion of Bundaberg locals.
She said they had been fundraising with a number of activities locally to support the needs of the incoming refugee family.
Holding pizza fundraisers through the local Dominos stores, a dessert evening with a live auction, and multiple other fundraising events has helped the group raise the funds to support the refugees.
Once the refugee family arrives in Bundaberg, the local group will help them to settle in.
“Though we come from many different walks of life, we have come together with the common goal of welcoming a refugee family into our community and we thank you for coming along with us and supporting us on this exciting journey,” Tessa said.
“We know that all of you will give your full support and love to this family of three, including a mother and her son, age 17, and daughter, age 14.
Tessa said they were looking forward to meeting the refugees at the airport and helping them for the first twelve months of their resettlement in the beautiful town of Bundaberg.
CRISP settlement program
Friends of Refugees’ Geoff Brennan said the group had followed the guidelines of the Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot (CRISP), which was announced by the Australian Government in December 2021.
CRISP is a new settlement program and under the program, refugee visa holders receive settlement support directly from trained community groups, called Community Supporter Groups (CSGs).
The aim is achieving optimal settlement outcomes with the help of community members who want to help refugees settle into life in Australia.
CRISP operates as a dedicated settlement pathway for refugees who do not have family links in Australia and are referred to Australia by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for resettlement.
A total of 1500 refugees will be settled through CRISP up until 30 June 2025.
Geoff said the refugee family relocating to Bundaberg would be the 21st family to find a new home in Australia through the program, and the local community should be very pleased to know it made this a possibility.
“I think this is an exciting thing, it will be a challenge, but I know our group will surround them and be up for the task,” Geoff said.
“I want the whole of Bundaberg to be wildly, wildly excited and to welcome them.
“Bundaberg is a very caring community, this will work.
“We should be very proud that Bundy is so early in the CRISP pilot program – this is a multicultural town and a safe community to welcome a refugee family.”
To support Bundaberg Friends of Refugees, Bundaberg Regional Council will hold a movie fundraiser, as part of Harmony Week, at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre on 25 March with a screening of Rosemary’s Way.
To purchase tickets click here.
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