Young children on side of a UNHCR tent - They took my home but they can't take my future
UNHCR World Refugee Day 2010 poster © UNHCR

supporting refugees


Community support is considered to be a key ‘ingredient’ in assisting refugees to settle well and to feel welcome in Australia. For many refugees, community groups provide a critical link to help establish a new life. Community groups in Australia provide support to newly- arrived refugees as well as established refugee communities.

Some community groups receive government funding to deliver services, however many also raise money separately to fund activities and advocacy programs. Some community groups receive corporate funding.
Many members of community group members volunteer their time to support refugees settling into our community. Established refugee communities often work hard to support and welcome newly arrived groups.

Community organisations

The Refugee Council of Australia established the Bright Ideas initiative to highlight and innovative programs, initiatives and projects developed by different organisations and community members to support refugees and asylum seekers. It provides a way to share ideas, success stories and good practice to improve service provision and assist organisations and communities in addressing key issues and challenges.

Community organisations such as the Asylum Seekers Centre (NSW) and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (Victoria) provide a range of support and services for people from refugee backgrounds who are seeking asylum. These include:

  • targeted programs to support refugee children and adults
  • social support and friendship
  • advocacy
  • legal aid and assistance.

Sanctuary Australia Foundation’s Refugee Advice and Support Service works with humanitarian entrants to assist them with advice on housing, small business start-up, education and referrals to many other service providers.

Raising community awareness and participation

Refugee Week is Australia’s peak annual activity held to raise awareness about the issues affecting refugees across the world and celebrate the positive contributions made by refugees in Australia. Originally celebrated in 1986, Refugee Week coincides with World Refugee Day (20 June).

Read more about how individuals, schools, community organisations, local councils and businesses can raise awareness and help refugees to feel welcome and supported in the community.