“For the community, by the community – what does this mean for RISE and our members?”
RISE is an organisation not just run by people of asylum seeker and refugee background but also governed by people from our communities. This means that members of the community are also the decision makers. RISE also made the difficult choice of not taking funding from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). We have made this decision despite having no full time paid staff so that we can continue the valuable work of advocacy and support for our communities without fear of censure or silencing by the government. This decision has meant refusing a slice of the $70m sweetener offered by DIAC to various non-governmental organisations as part of the Department’s larger plan to outsource and privatise the management of Australia’s immigration network. As a result, RISE may not have the public profile of NGOs mentioned and praised by the likes of “refugee advocate” Paris Aristotle at an event presented by the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University (http://theconversation.com/guest-post-paris-aristotle-talks-asylum-seekers-at-the-castan-centre-9382) but we continue to undertake caseloads that are comparable, if not greater than, many of these substantially more resourced organisations. We do this for the empowerment and uplift of our communities.
“The organisations that have remained critical and community-led in their approach, rather than attempting to affect policy from within institutions, deploy power and influence through democratic participation from the viewpoint of citizens, social groups and communities. Community organisations can therefore equip themselves and the people they serve with intellectual, legal and organising tools that flow from the critical analysis and political commitments that formed them. It is this ability to remain sovereign, and therefore hold consistent politics, while adapting to the changing political landscapes, that makes true community organisations so compelling, influential and so vital to the health of our democracy.”
This is why we at RISE feel that it is important not just to call out governmental institutions for their punitive and oppressive practices but also to hold non-governmental institutions and non-profit organisations that are capitalising on the refugee and humanitarian crisis to account for the ways in which they participate in and reinforce the oppressive policies introduced by self-serving politicians.
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RISE is a Tax deductible organization and your financial support helps us to enable refugees to build new lives in Australia in which they can flourish and achieve their fullest potential. http://www.givenow.com.au/riserefugee