Greater Dandenong residents and businesses are getting behind newly-arrived refugees from Afghanistan, AMES Australia reports.
Chief executive Cath Scarth said the agency’s Dandenong office had received hundreds of “culturally familiar” meals for the new arrivals from Dandenong Market and businesses.
Meanwhile, residents and community groups have donated clothing and items for children and babies.
“The City of Greater Dandenong has been eager to help and is preparing to offer services and support to the Afghanis who ultimately choose to settle in Dandenong.
“We are building on our partnerships with local health and education providers and with community groups to be able to support them.”
The new arrivals were recently evacuated from Afghanistan’s capital Kabul with “literally nothing”, Ms Scarth said.
“So all of the offers of help are appreciated.
“They will continue to need support as they settle so offers of volunteer mentoring support, friendship and jobs will be important into the future.”
Meanwhile, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre has launched a pro bono legal clinic to help people from Afghanistan in Australia apply for visas for loved ones stranded overseas.
The ASRC said it had been overwhelmed by hundreds of calls seeking information and help to bring their family members to safety.
The clinic is supported by pro bono law firms and lawyer volunteers, including Maurice Blackburn and Gadens law firms.
ASRC principal solicitor Dr Carolyn Graydon said Australian Afghanistan community members faced a “morass of red tape”.
This included visa processing times of several years, costly visa application fees and cumbersome processes.
“We continue to hear tragic stories of preventable deaths of wives or children who have died in Afghanistan while their husband and father in Australia has been helpless to assist them, due to the cruelty of the temporary visa regime designed to permanently split families apart.”