fbpx Jesuit Social Services - A warm welcome for refugee families in Melbourne

A warm welcome for refugee families in Melbourne

As hundreds of Afghan families fled Kabul in August and September, community members in Melbourne were waiting with open arms.

Nasser Yawari is an Afghan-Australian who works on Jesuit Social Services’ Jobs Advocates Program. As a trusted and connected member of the Afghan diaspora community in Victoria, he was one of the first in touch with exhausted families as they disembarked evacuation flights from Kabul and entered Melbourne’s quarantine hotels.

Nasser contacted our Ecological Justice Hub, which has spent six Victorian lockdowns harvesting, packaging, cooking and delivering fresh meals and grocery packs to community members in need.

Ecological Justice Hub coordinator Stuart Muir Wilson (left) said the quick food relief effort was an example of Jesuit Social Services’ Ignatian spirit of having one foot raised, to go where help is most needed.

Within 24 hours, the Hub was able to expand its service, in collaboration with refugee support service AMES and The Big Umbrella Foundation, to deliver hot, culturally appropriate meals and fresh groceries to 30 families quarantining in three city hotels, demonstrating what true welcome can look like.

Hub coordinator Stuart Muir Wilson said Jesuit Social Services’ thoughtful, quick and collaborative response is an example of how our organisation honours its Ignatian heritage – living with one foot raised, ready to go wherever the need is greatest.

“The team and I were able to do this because the Hub is responsive, pragmatic and solutions-oriented, with demonstrated on-the-ground experience,” he said.

“Thanks to the insights of Nasser and AMES we knew what people needed, could react quickly, and were trusted to deliver the nourishing and comforting food people were after during an incredibly vulnerable time.”