Monthly Archives: June 2013

Gift voucher appeal – “The RISE Pantry”

The RISE Pantry provides access to free dry food, fruits and vegetables at the RISE drop in centre which is open on weekdays from 9am-5pm and Sat from 10am-2pm. The aim of the RISE Pantry is to provide general access to any of our members emergency food assistance.

As the name suggests, a standardised food box/bag pantry prepares standardized packages of food to give to RISE members. The main strengths of this model are is its “fairness” – every member receives more or less the same thing, and the pantry’s ability to control the nutritional balance of the food package a member receives.

In setting up the RISE Pantry we recognise the limitations of this distribution model. Many of our members aren’t standardised and may have special needs, food allergies or have diverse religious and other dietary restrictions. Likewise many of our members find it hard to ask for help, especially when it is for something as basic and personal as feeding one’s Family or they may live in distant locations and find it difficult to commute to the RISE drop in centre.    

Given these limitations the RISE FoodBank also incorporates a targeted food voucher element.

The RISE Gift Voucher scheme is targeted to our most underserviced members and provides them with food gift vouchers (e.g.Coles/Woolworths) on an ongoing basis to see them safely through that time of need.

The success of this program lies in its directness and flexibility;

  • It ensures that assistance is provided to the most vulnerable members
  • Our members find the voucher model less humiliating to their sense of pride and self-worth
  • Being able to choose their own food gives our members a sense of control to acquire the items they most need
  • Vouchers can be delivered directly to our members
  • Vouchers can be used at stores that are readily located across Australia

The RISE Gift Voucher model works by prioritising the most underserviced members in our community. Whilst considering cases on an individual basis a RISE settlement officer will triage the most pressing cases based on the following guiding principles;

  • Individuals or Families that are refugees or asylum seekers
  • Individuals or Families who are financially ill-equipped to meet their daily food requirements 
  • Households with children
  • Individuals suffering from a serious disability, illness or mental condition
  • Individuals or Families in remote areas with low access to NGO and community support
  • Individuals or families experiencing a prolonged risk of food insecurity or hunger

Those who wish to donate, please post gift vouchers to:-
RISE, Refugees Survivors and Ex-detainees
247, Flinders lane
Melbourne 3000.

Rehabilitation – not for refugees.

A psychiatric rehabilitation centre has rightly said they will admit a detained refugee into their facility to undergo a rehabilitation program on condition that the Australian immigration department will not release the refugee back into detention after the patient is discharged. The department of Immigration and citizenship has refused to guarantee this and hence the mentally ill refugee will remain administratively and indefinitely detained in an immigration detention centre. To quote one of the psychiatrists who has assessed the refugee, treating a detainee for mental illness and then putting him back again in detention after completing treatment is like covering a burn with a band aid until it heals and then burning the healed wound again. Only the Minister of Immigration, Brendan O Connor, has the discretionary power to allow the “wound” to heal but he chooses not to.

Performance Storytelling Workshops

RISE will deliver its first storytelling workshops this August, in partnership with Chicago’s 2nd Story who deliver unique storytelling experiences that provoke and challenge.

The workshops are a facilitated introduction to performance storytelling, a movement sweeping the US.

Performance storytelling is a combination of page, stage and sound that takes a personal narrative and workshops it through literary techniques, then molds these into high-quality performance monologue pieces. At the conclusion of the workshop participants may have the option of recording their finished pieces at RISE’s Recording studio. 

The exciting initiative sees RISE and 2nd Story develop stories from our community that deserve to be heard, acknowledged and shared. The workshops are open to RISE members and people of refugee, asylum seeker and migrant backgrounds. People of colour are also encouraged to attend. 

When: Saturday August 17th
Time: 1-4pm
Place: RISE Refugee
Level 1, Ross House 247 Flinders Lane,
No experience necessary


Give Paris Aristotle a job in Quetta, Pakistan

“Mr Aristotle argues that one way of allaying ”pull factor” anxieties would be to commit to ”more places further up the line in Pakistan and Iran, before people have to depart and begin their journey”.”

Prime Minister Gillard please take the above advice on board and give Paris Aristotle AM a job so he can physically live and work centrally in Quetta, Pakistan, one of the major sources of asylum seekers who come to Australia by boat, instead hiding his “expertise” under a bushel in the remote suburbs of Melbourne. The time is ripe now, for him to be given a more hands on role of regional refugee and humanitarian co-ordinator in Quetta ( and use his 20 years of experience earning money as a “refugee expert”, to help persecuted Hazara refugees come the “right way” instead of losing their lives in leaky boats. Particularly as he has pinpointed this area quite correctly as a source of concern, with predictions that more Afghan refugees will be looking to seek refuge the next few years as the situation deteriorates in this region (

We urge bipartisan support for Paris Aristotle to be given this job and hope they will allow him to stay in Quetta over a significant period of time to help reduce the number of Afghan refugees dying not just in the sea but on land when they even go to the Passport office in Pakistan (

Australia’s ‘border protection’ policies increasing danger-Tony Kevin-“Reluctant Rescuers”

As politicians and anti-refugee lobby groups capitalise on the latest tragedy at Christmas island to hysterically ask for tighter border control to purportedly prevent “deaths at sea” we would like to bring to your attention this reference to “Reluctant Rescuers” a book by former Australian Ambassador Tony Kevin (from page 2 of an analysis of the Houston report by the Melbourne anti-deportation group):

“Former Australian Ambassador and figurehead of the Senate inquiry into the sinking of ‘SIEV X’ in 2001, Tony Kevin, released a detailed examination of Australia’s border patrol and smuggling disruption operations in June 2012 entitled Reluctant Rescuers.

This examination recognises that the Australian public have been
encouraged to think of smugglers as the cause of boat tragedies, and to see the numbers of such incidents as increasing exponentially. Combining statistics of the Australian Parliamentary Library, Kevin reminds us that that given some 24,184 persons have arrived on boats since 1998, the death toll of people who have travelled by boat is around 2.7 percent if not below. Put another way, 97.3 percent of persons who embarked from Indonesia for Australia by boat since 1998 managed to arrive here safely. The point inciting these numbers is not to calculate away the tragedy of deaths at sea, but rather to ask; what happens in those 2.7 percent of cases, when 97.3 percent of passengers arrive safely?

The unwavering contention throughout Kevin’s book is simple; Australia’s border protection policies beginning in 1998 and continuing to date, including sophisticated disruption operations in Indonesia, have led directly to boat journeys toward Australia becoming more dangerous and deadly.”

Read More of the Melbourne Anti deportation group’s analysis here: