Dzenana (Ana) started volunteering as a writer for the ASRC in October last year. Ana herself sought asylum in Australia when she was five years old. She, her sister and mum were refugees from the Bosnian War. They arrived in Perth in 1995.
For the first few years, their lives were incredibly difficult. They couldn’t speak English and Ana’s mother worked three jobs to make ends meet. They lived very frugally.
At the time, there weren’t any services available to help their family integrate, offer them counselling or even to learn English. It was an isolating experience – it was difficult to adjust to a new country, and to a new way of life. But through sheer will, they survived and thrived.
‘But there are many others who are not so lucky.’ Ana says. This is why she’s participating in the ASRC’s Run 4 Refugees this year as part of #TeamASRC.
‘There is little support for refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia and what support there is usually comes from charitable organisations like the ASRC. I’ve been volunteering with the ASRC for almost a year now and I am constantly amazed at the lengths they go to to support people in need,’ Ana says.
I cannot begin to describe what a difference an organisation like the ASRC would have made to us all those years ago and I feel incredibly privileged to be a part of it now.
Ana is running the ten kilometres as part of the Run 4 Refugees. She’s already raised over $1000 and is hoping to raise at least $2000.
Most of my donations have come from friends and family, many of whom have donated beyond their means. Their generosity has honestly brought me to tears and I am incredibly grateful to every single person who has donated – their contribution makes a real difference to the lives of people seeking asylum.
When asked, Ana’s donors had various reasons for donating, but many emphasised the important contribution that refugees and people seeking asylum can make to our community. Here are some of the responses:
Philippa: ‘Having been her best friend for many years is more than enough proof of the valuable contribution refugees make to Australian society and our way of life. They should be welcomed and supported here.’
Laura: ‘Donating to a cause like the ASRC seems natural seeing as the return on investment is so tangible. Refugees have contributed so much to Australia and deserve to be supported.’
Morgan: ‘Because 13 years ago, a refugee became my best friend. They’re people I love, not numbers. I support them with love and pride, I support this cause, I support those that have come and those yet to arrive.’
Tom: ‘I’m incredibly proud to know that someone who has been a refugee herself is taking steps (literally) to benefit people who have also been displaced by war in some way.’
James: ‘Because the ASRC does amazing work and with the government actively making life difficult for refugees and asylum seekers, it needs all the help it can get.’
Ana’s mother’s answer is very poignant: ‘Because no one should have to go through what we went through.’
If you’d like to sponsor Ana’s run, please head to her donations page here
Every little bit counts and your contribution helps support our newest Australians through what is a traumatic, confusing and uncertain time. Also, please leave a message and let her know why you’re donating!
Ana’s tip for novice Run 4 Refugee runners?
‘I’m not a very fit person. I’m prone to falling over and the thought of running ten whole kms makes me feel kind of woozy. The only tip I have is to make a friend do it with you! You’ll be able to distract each other from your blisters/stitches/sore legs and you’ll have someone encouraging you the whole way. Or at least sharing in your suffering the whole way. ‘
Run 4 Refugees is the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s (ASRC) flagship community fundraising event. Whether you run, walk, skip or jog in one of five event distances – you will be championing hope and empowering people seeking asylum.
In 2017 Run 4 Refugees celebrates it’s 10th anniversary and since 2007, has raised almost $1 million to support the ASRC’s frontline programs and services. So what are you waiting for? Join #TeamASRC today! Head to asrc.org.au/run4refugeesLeave a reply →