BRASA - Who we are

The Association is an independent, local community group of people in the Southern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia.

Our aims

We aim to raise awareness in our local area of the issues faced by asylum-seekers in Australia and its overseas detention centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

What we do

  • Organise local events, e.g. speakers, films, cultural displays etc to raise awareness of the plight of refugees.
  • Hold monthly meetings.
  • Write letters to politicians
  • Take part in programs that offer practical help for asylum-seekers who live in the community, e.g. with learning English, accessing community support, e.g. medical, legal and other services, and liaison with Government departments.
  • Raise money to provide material support for refugees

The members of the Bayside Refugee Advocacy and Support Association (BRASA) help to support several of the key organisations that support the asylum seekers. These include the Friends of Refugees, who help people seeking asylum and refugees. BRASA collect donations of tinned and packaged food, toiletries, household cleaning materials, and we donate supermarket gift cards to the Friends of Refugees to support the people who now rely on them.

Other ways to help

We need people who can write letters and submissions, people who are knowledgeable about technology, social media, running events, chairing meetings, keeping accounts, giving presentations, and many other skills. Our group owes its success to the wide range of skills of its members, but we are always on the lookout for more.

Our story

BRASA started in 2013 with a group of friends who were inspired by the work of the Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project in Albert Park, and saw the need for a local group in the Bayside Area to help raise awareness of the plight of refugees.
The founding members were Judy Carroll, Judith Rafferty, Libby Strain (who passed away sadly in 2019), and Geraldine Moore.
Before long the circle expanded as people with similar interests joined BRASA.
A major turning point for BRASA was when the Minister of the Hampton Uniting Church invited us to meet in their parish meeting room. This enabled BRASA to expand by providing a venue for speakers and events.
From 2014 to 2017 BRASA visited asylum seekers in the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) centre in Broadmeadows approximately once a month, taking fresh fruit to supplement the meagre diet of fresh food given to the asylum seekers.
Despite the tightening of restrictions, there are still a few BRASA members who visit these asylum seekers.
BRASA has developed links with other groups such as the Goldstein branch of the Grandmothers against Detention, and the Refugee Advocacy Network who organise the annual Palm Sunday Walk For Justice For Refugees. We also work with the Refugee Action Collective who organise many of the protests against detention. We donate to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Friends of Refugees, the Human Rights Law Centre, Refugee Legal, the Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project and the National Justice Project.

 

How to Donate

How to Donate Money
Donations of money enable us to help needy refugees. Some are not permitted to work. Some are permitted to work, but because they do not have permanent visas, employers are reluctant to employ them because they can be deported at any time. Some struggle with English. Many refugees are desperate for help with basic survival expenses. Some refugee children rarely get outings, presents or treats.

You can do a direct deposit into the bank account of the
Bayside Refugee Advocacy and Support Association
BSB 633 000
Account 154 687 438
Please identify your payment with the prefix ’Donat’ followed by your surname
(Unfortunately, we do not have deductible gift recipient status, but if you need a tax-deductible receipt, we can recommend another refugee support organisation that can offer this.)

Donations of Goods (Food, toiletries, cleaning materials, etc)*
The following items are always appreciated:
◾ Dry packaged foods such as lentils, chickpeas, nuts, dried fruits, biscuits (sweet and savoury), pasta, rice (especially Basmati), flour, sugar, spices, coffee, tea.
Tinned goods such as tomatoes, beans, other vegetables and fruits. (There is no demand for baked beans and tinned spaghetti)
◾ Cordials, jams, honey long-life milk
◾ Toiletries such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shaving cream, deodorant, shavers, disposable nappies, women’s sanitary products, toilet paper and sunscreen.
◾ Cleaning products for kitchens, bathrooms and toilets.
◾ Supermarket vouchers e.g., for Coles or Woolworths, allow people to buy items that they particularly need or want, and are very much appreciated.

Collection and Delivery
A volunteer from the Friends of Refugees in Springvale collects donations of this type approximately once a week from the Bayside area. The Friends of Refugees delivers the goods to refugees who are living in the South-Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Please contact either Geraldine, who lives in Sandringham, gm_moore@bigpond.net.au or Katie, who lives in South Caulfield katieshafar@gmail.com to drop off your donations.
You can be assured that your donation will mean a lot to someone who is in need

Large Items (Furniture, white goods (refrigerators, microwaves, TVs, washing machines etc), new or near new bedding, bicycles, sporting equipment, new or near new toys.)
Please attach a photo of the item that you are considering donating to an email and address it to donate@for.org.au or email@for.org.au. Include your name and telephone number. The volunteers at Friends of Refugees will let you know if they can use what you are offering, and, (in the case of larger items) if they have the room to store it.

 

Contacts

Geraldine (President) 0408512522: email

Pam (Secretary) 0424286463 email

Robin (Treasurer) 0455851021: email

Robert (Webmaster) 0450247152: email

Lyndall (Membership Secretary) 0447087067: email