As the Syrian refugee crisis continues to unfold many Church and other community groups are putting their hands up with offers of practical assistance and support.
A range of NGOs, including representatives from UnitingCare, is meeting with senior government officials later this week to begin the practical steps of implementing a considered resettlement plan.
Groups involved in the refugee resettlement strategy have signalled that consideration will also be given to administering and utilising the wave of community support.
Speaking in response to the Prime Minister’s announcement, UnitingCare national director Lin Hatfield Dodds thanked the government for listening to the Australian community and offering refuge to those fleeing Syria.
“The UnitingCare network is ready to provide frontline care and community support to Australia’s humanitarian effort to resettle Syrian refugees,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
“Many of those arriving in our communities over the coming months will have experienced trauma. All will have experienced loss.
“UnitingCare agencies are ready to bring their expertise in the provision of compassionate, practical and professional support services to people and families who arrive in our community under the expanded programs.
“We are committed to building vibrant and inclusive communities through our social services presence, and look forward to providing an introduction to life in Australia for people fleeing persecution.
“Working together we are confident that Syrian people can rebuild their lives in the safety and freedom of Australia.”
Uniting Church national president Stuart McMillan has also reaffirmed the Church’s commitment to providing assistance for displaced peoples.
“The Uniting Church in Australia stands ready to support these refugees from Syria and Iraq – whether they are people of faith or none.
“I urge all of us, in the weeks and months ahead, as we work across the councils and agencies of our Church to extend our hands in a coordinated way to support the new arrivals.”
There will be an opportunity to support the Syrian refugee’s resettlement program through a Share appeal being launched later this week. Crosslight will publish details for Church members to support the resettlement program as they come to hand.