I can think that at this time of year you are receiving many letters in your mailbox. In fact, now that I have my own place to stay, with my own address and my own letterbox, perhaps I’ll start receiving letters too. But I wouldn’t mind that so much, having a roof over my head is something I cherish.

Know what I’m writing to you comes from the heart and a place of love.

My name is Kamla, I volunteer here at the ASRC and I like to volunteer, to help other people, because the ASRC is very good, helping each other and for many years, helping me. So many people come here every day, needing help with so much things – food, housing, health, support with their happiness.

Kamla_refugee_woman_AustraliaAs I write this letter to you, I am very happy. And while it took me a while to get there, I can now live freely and in my community. I work, I volunteer, I have friends and I live happily and safely. But it wasn’t always that way for me, and in fact, I came to Australia to make sure I could live and start a new life here with nice, generous and loving people.

For me, when I left my country, I was excited, but nervous not knowing what would be on the other side of my journey. And in some cases I’ve found distress, despair and a feeling of loneliness that no one believed that my safety was in jeopardy, I’ve also found great kindness, love and generosity from so many people – people just like you.

And so while we haven’t met, I want to say thank you. Because without you, and without places like Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, I may not be here today.

That moment of darkness that existed in my life was made lighter by the people I spoke to, the volunteers, the staff in the Foodbank and the lovely ladies who helped me in the Health Centre when I was so sick – they helped me with my heart, and when my body got hurt many years ago.

The ASRC is called by people ‘the home of hope’.

For me, it wasn’t just a place of hope – it was a place of belief, a place where I found my strength, and I found my resilience and my new beginnings. When I came to the ASRC, I learnt so much and made friends, it made me feel happy.

They help many people in many different ways. I remember needing to buy food, not knowing how the small level of support I had each week would allow me to eat healthily and pay my rent.

I felt safe again and I felt a sense of home.

These might seem like small things but for me, they mean everything. The idea of having food on the shelf, the idea of having a safe roof over my head and the idea of having someone to speak to, someone who will listen and someone who will care, was good.

Kamla_refugee-volunteeringSo today I wanted to share with you that your support and your generosity and your commitment to people just like me, is not just money, it’s so much more. Now, I volunteer, because people helped me so much and I want to help them. Sometimes I am tired, but I feel good, helping other people and I know that people like my food when I cook here at the ASRC!

That’s why I am happy, and why I thank you.

I hope to meet you one day so that I could tell you this personally, and shake your hand, not to say thank you just for your donation but to thank you for being that ray of light in the darkness that I needed. You’ll never know how much it means to me. The people you help when you donate, God will bless you.

I wish you well.


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