Raees had one opportunity to take his young pregnant wife and escape the violence in his home country for a new life in Australia. He knew if they took this step, they would be giving up everything they had at home and there would be no turning back. Prioritising his families safety over everything else, Raees made the decision to seek asylum in Australia. Raees and his wife reached Australia in 2018 and were on a Bridging Visa A.
They gave up everything back home and came to Australia with $500 in hand. He was given centrelink support and he had applied for a Temporary Protection Visa as many asylum seekers do. Despite poor English he was also working casually and was quite hopeful that once their visa was granted, this would be a new lease of life for them. Over the 3 years of processing Raees and his wife had 2 young children born in Australia and along with Centrelink Benefits and his casual income, were able to get by every month and were quite grateful.
One day he received news he dreaded. Their Visa application was rejected. Due to the rejection all Centrelink benefits were ceased and he also lost his work rights. All of a sudden, Raees had no income, had a wife and 2 young children to support and nowhere to go. He was advised to appeal the decision but with no money to pay rent, they were soon evicted from their home.
Raees turned to a church for help. Under immense financial pressure, Raees started having hallucinations and mental breakdowns. His wife was unable to communicate with him as he was becoming hysterical. The church gave them a place to stay and also monthly financial assistance. Raees began receiving medical treatment for his mental condition while the responsibility now landed on his wife to figure things out going forward.
The church contacted one of our partners advising that they will be ceasing support in 2 weeks and our partner contacted NZF to see if we were able to assist this young family. His wife is determined to make things work and shoulder this responsibility of looking after her husband as he recovered and their two young kids. She needed financial help with temporary housing assistance, medical costs for her husband and was looking for avenues to do some training so she could start working.
We are currently assisting them with a special COVID allowance, rental assistance as well as food vouchers to get them through this period while Raees and his wife can figure things out and not have to worry about their day to day essentials.
Raees' story is one of many such Asylum Seekers in Australia, who are stuck with no work rights or benefits. If we as a community turn our back on them, how will we answer Allah when He questions us about our brothers & sisters in need right here in our community?