My involvement with asylum seekers is rooted in my own experience of migrating to Australia. My husband and I were forced to leave Kenya, his country of birth and the country of birth of my children. When we finally landed in Australia, the community assistance we were given, so generously, enabled us to settle in with minimum disruption to our lives. I am paying it forward.
The attitudes of politicians towards asylum seekers has also had an effect on me. I have grown cynical after living through several political cycles where major parties have put policies in place that hurt refugees and asylum seekers. To hear about young children being abused and hear about the sexual abuse of women in the detention centres is very painful. I feel disempowered, as if there is no way the authorities can be brought to account.
Through volunteering on the English Language Support Program, I am able to support vulnerable asylum seekers in a similar way to how I was supported when I arrived.
– Laxmi, Victoria