Welcome to the ASRC
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is Australia’s leading asylum seeker organisation. We are a multi-award winning, independent and non-federal government funded human rights organisation. We work at the coalface assisting some of the most disadvantaged people in our community.
From Humble Beginnings
On the 8th of June 2001 we opened our doors in a tiny shop front in Footscray with only a few hundred dollars and a few boxes of food to our name. We have grown to be Australia’s largest asylum seeker organisation. Despite growing a hundred fold since, in the number of people we help, the services we offer and the people who volunteer we have not lost the ethos and spirit that we were founded on. At our heart is the principle that we turn no one seeking asylum away.
We are a one of a kind place
Under the one roof you will find an extraordinary centre with only 32 full time staff and more than 750 volunteers. We deliver services to over 1,200 asylum seekers at any one time through programs such as material aid, health, legal, counselling, casework and foodbank. In our first 8 years alone we have assisted over 7000 people seeking asylum, provided more than 1 million hours of free help and turned no one in need away. All of this achieved without a single dollar of Federal Government funding and with more than 95% of our funding coming solely from the community and philanthropy. The ASRC does it all from direct aid, welfare, medical care to strengthening families and communities through community development to campaigning for social change.
We are about community
Many of the asylum seekers we work with no longer have a place to truly call home. Most have been forced to leave their family behind and live in destitute conditions here in Australia, while seeking refugee status. The ASRC is a place where people are made to feel welcomed, safe and supported. We have the same lime and mango coloured walls that we had back in 2001 that make people feel at home. The mish mash of earthy recycled furniture is still here too, where one can rest their weary body and spirit. Beautiful exotic smells emanate from our community lunches every weekday and one is surrounded by the sounds of the rich mosaic of languages from across the globe.
We are a place that is all about people first
We turn no asylum seeker away as we are about people and nothing else. The only reason we started and still exist is to make sure asylum seekers get a fair go. No person is too hard or complex to work with. In fact the more vulnerable or marginalised a person is, the more important it is for us to be there supporting them. We believe in the potential of people. We believe in the extraordinary resilience and courage of asylum seekers. We believe in hope.
We are about making a difference
We are a truly unique place, one that knows that you need to work at the coalface providing people with their basic needs for survival while at the same time working for real social change. Our organisation has one overarching goal, which is to work for a system that provides for a humane and just treatment of all people seeking asylum.
Since 2001 the ASRC has helped play an important part (with many other refugee organisations) in creating real social change for asylum seekers including helping:
- End the policy of children in detention
- End of Temporary Protection Visas
- End of charging people for being in detention
- End of the 45 day rule
- Closure of Manus Island and Nauru detention centres
- Asylum Seekers in Victoria have access to free medical emergency care in our public health system