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Visit to the Asylum Seeker Resource Center (ASRC) in Melbourne.

I recently visited the ASRC – the Asylum Seekers’ Resource Centre in Melbourne – and was blown away by the enterprise, energy and passion for helping people I witnessed there. Springing from a tiny operation in a shopfront with a few hundred dollars and a few boxes of food, in 2001, the ASRC now feeds, counsels, educates, helps accommodate & secures work for, over 1200 asylum seekers at any one time.

Kon Karapanagiotidis, founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne, with Senator Penny Wright.

It is a mighty enterprise - bustling with volunteers who have provided over 1 million hours of their time in the last 12 years, and absolutely no one in need is turned away.

I was shown around by the indefatigable Kon Karapanagiotidis, who founded and oversees the centre, and I can say that the size of his heart is only matched by the size of his vision when it comes to what we can do, as a community, to offer asylum seekers the opportunity to contribute to our country.

Desperate people – individuals &  families turn up every day. The ASRC offers them support and hope that we would all want for those we care about. I saw workers and clients sitting down together at a one of the centre’s daily shared meals – and the sense of community and dignity and respect was as nourishing as the food looked.

At a time when it is easy to feel that things are bleak, the ASRC is an inspiring reminder of Australian society at its best: compassion, resourcefulness, humour and an absolute dedication to giving people a ‘fair go’.  By getting behind ventures like this, we are casting  a vote of confidence in our humanity.

The ASRC are running their annual winter appeal and every $1 donation they receive translates to $20 worth of services delivered.

Your donation goes directly to providing the essential items that enable asylum seekers to live: food, winter clothing and blankets, nappies, transport and school packs for children. Every donation helps put an end to poverty and hunger. You're also providing opportunities for education and employment - the foundations of hope and empowerment.

Click here for more information and to make donation.

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