Today’s story of one person getting the ball rolling in support of refugees and people seeking asylum is a real crowd-pleaser and one with which you could get involved this year!
Read on to see how Alison Reynolds’ simple idea made such an impact in the Brisbane community.
My name is Alison and I am the founder of the “Backpack for Refugee Kids at Christmas” project. Basically, it is an annual drive (in its second year) to collect backpacks filled with a mixture of items for refugee children living in the Brisbane area. These backpacks are donated by the wonderfully generous members of our Facebook group and then distributed to refugee and asylum-seeking children of all ages.
Backpack donated by Jac for a young girl
My support and advocacy work for refugees and people seeking asylum started a few years ago now. For me, it was inconceivable to stand back and do nothing while so many people were having to flee their homes and countries simply to stay alive.
The idea for the backpack project actually came from another project I was involved in which supported children experiencing homelessness (Adopt a Backpack), and run by a wonderful lady named Heather Ranger supporting Micah Projects. Heather’s work inspired me to start something very similar but with a focus on refugee children.
Thanks to the support of the community we were not only able to provide backpacks to many children seeking asylum in Brisbane but also the children detained on Nauru.
I think a huge benefit of this project is that people are able to do something to support this cause in a hugely practical way but one that also says, “we care”. Another overarching benefit of these small projects is that they build awareness and help to educate people who previously may not have been exposed to anything other than fear-mongering and propaganda in relation to refugees.
There are so many benefits that come from a project like this. Personally, I was delighted to have made a small difference to the lives of these children but I was completely overwhelmed and immensely touched by the generosity of the community that we built around this initiative.
In the past I found myself in the situation of wanting to help with the issue of people seeking asylum, but wasn’t sure how, but a quick google or facebook search will provide you with a list of refugee support groups you can join. There are opportunities to contribute in many different ways depending on the time you have available. And of course, please join our backpack group!
In short, get involved and help us keep up the good fight!
Thank you so much Alison for sharing your story and the Backpack project. If you are in Brisbane and would like to join in on this project this year, check out the Facebook group for the project (where you can also see some photos of last year’s project and the happy recipients of some of the backpacks!).
If you are not from Brisbane, perhaps YOU could kickstart a similar project in your local area. Start by contacting service providers who work with people seeking asylum in your area and see if they would like to be involved. Too easy!
If you know of an individual or group that would like to be featured in our What Can One Person Do? series, please ask them to get in touch via the Teddy Bears Without Borders Facebook page.
If you would like to contribute to any of Teddy Bears Without Borders current projects, just click here for more information.