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A chat with Multicultural Hub Canberra

Welcoming Australia's new arrivals

What do a single mum of five, a homeless refugee from South Sudan, and a family who were robbed have in common? They've all been helped by GIVIT's donors via the tireless work of Multicultural Hub Canberra.

This organisation supports migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to access the resources they need to thrive and feel connected in the community. They help new arrivals to Australia find employment, accommodation, education and health services, provide kid's and youth programs, and offer counselling.

Getting refugees and asylum seekers on the right track

Through GIVIT, the organisation has:

  • Helped a young man from South Sudan transition into social housing, obtaining a full house worth of furniture and essentials.
  • Provided a bed to a mum and dad forced to sleep on the floor after a robbery meant they had to sell their possessions to support their family.
  • Obtained baby items for an expectant mum who was dependent on welfare payments due to her and her husband's work rights.
  • Covered the cost of removalists for a refugee family in financial hardship given two weeks notice to leave their rental.
  • Given cooking equipment to two young women in a family of eight to help them enrol in a cookery course.

Director Zakia Patel says her relationship with GIVIT has been fruitful. "We don't have infinite funding to be able to go out and keep buying things for our clients who come in. So being able to work with GIVIT is just amazing because we're able to provide that support that we need for our clients."

Multicultural Hub Canberra Director Zakia Patel talks about how GIVIT helps her organisation to support migrants, refugess and asylum seekers

Video transcript | Chatting to Multicultural Hub Canberra

A promising start

"So I actually engaged with GIVIT through a previous role last year where I was working in the youth sector and actually I can't even remember how GIVIT and I linked in. But it was to do with a young person that had become homeless and then had recently gone into their own independent accommodation, and just basically needed things to be able to support themselves.

At the same time, my role was developing, and reopening a youth center in Canberra that had closed down for some time. And so we were setting that up and needed items and stuff and we were fully funding that ourselves. So, the organisation I worked for was fully funding it. And someone said to me, link up with GIVIT and so I did and met up with Caroline and she was fabulous. I cannot stop raving about Caroline. And she said to me, 'look, this is how you use our system; and sat me down and kind of talked me through everything.

So I just started putting in things that we needed to set up our youth center and things that I needed for this young person and through that we received so many donations of furniture, four laptops for young people to use in the youth center.

I was able to get this young person a lot of items that she needed. Another young person then linked in later on with me who was having a baby and had absolutely nothing set up. So it was like linking in with GIVIT, got a pram, car seats, all that kind of stuff that we needed.

 

A fruitful relationship

So it just became the most fruitful relationship for me because, you know, either through my previous role and this current organisation, we don't have infinite funding to be able to just go out and keep buying things for our clients that come in. And so being able to then work with GIVIT is just amazing because we're able to provide that support that we need for our clients.

This young boy came as a refugee from South Sudan, and he was living in a refuge and had transitioned into social housing, but his own independent housing.

And he came to see us and he just said, 'look, I've got the clothes on my back and that's about it. I don't actually have anything to put in so I can't move into my house until I have something to sleep on, I've got nothing.'

We were starting from scratch and I said, 'okay let's write all this down together everything that you need.' So we worked through everything that he needed and that afternoon went to GIVIT and listed it out. Within a week, we were able to source out everything that we needed through GIVIT.

 

A huge impact for vulnerable community members

I think that one of the things that I realised from when I started and this is where GIVIT staff are amazing because their contact, their communication between myself and some of the staff is amazing because they'll contact me and go 'did you mean you need this? Because it didn't quite come across this way and so people might not understand exactly what you need' and I'm like, 'oh I didn't think about that. Yeah, that's true.' So I'll go back and change my wording and what I want and then you'll find that people are so much more responsive because it's just the language that you might put up, in terms of the type of item that you're requesting, the type of donation you want.

For someone who works with very vulnerable community members, it has the biggest impact. It's the difference between people sleeping on the floor, to people sleeping on a bed and we've had that with clients that link in where we've had to source out beds because they are sleeping on the floor. We had a family who a few months ago, got robbed and lost everything and they had to sell off a lot of furniture items to be able to give some things to their kids. So the mum and dad were sleeping literally on the floor on a sheet. And we linked in with GIVIT, and we were able to give them a bed.

 

People who care

That experience, the ability to be able to contribute that way to someone's life, has just the most unbelievable impact and that's for someone who is donating that item not for us, but that relationship is really between the client and the donor. And sometimes if I'm doing things on GIVIT I'll actually have the client sit next to me and show them saying it's not me, it's actually GIVIT, this organisation, people in the community who are providing these items and donating, these items for clients like you."

[GIVIT is] the difference between people sleeping on the floor, and people sleeping in a bed."

ZAKIA PATEL, MULTICULTURAL HUB CANBERRA DIRECTOR

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