RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees is the first and only refugee and asylum seeker welfare and advocacy organisation in Australia, entirely governed by refugees, asylum seekers, and ex-detainees. As such, we view those who seek assistance from RISE as ‘members’, not ‘clients’.
RISE had its humble beginnings in the library of RMIT in January 2009 and was officially launched in March 2010. RISE was established to increase refugee and asylum seekers’ participation and enable refugees to build new lives by providing advice, engaging in community development, enhancing opportunity and campaigning for refugee/asylum seeker rights. Soon after, many young community ambassadors and youth leaders joined the RISE team.
RISE’s growth made it necessary to move, and in March 2010, RISE was able to secure office space at Ross House, right in the heart of the CBD. Computers and office equipment were generously provided by different organisations and refugee community groups.
The RISE model was created by refugees, enabling us to foster first-hand knowledge, experiences and expertise for our own benefit. Importantly, each member of our Board of Directors comes from diverse refugee backgrounds with strong connections within the community. Many of our workers also experienced the difficulties of settling in Australia and have in-depth knowledge of the political, legal, social and community welfare system in Australia.
RISE represents and is connected with over 30 community groups (including Afghan, Burmese, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Iranian, Iraqi, Kenyan, Rohingya, Somali, Sudanese, Syrian and Tamil) in order to develop and create integrated projects. Since its establishment RISE has provided support to more than 2600 members.
Our work revolves around our Advocacy Program where we act on our members’ behalf to improve government and non-governments policies and in an attempt to generate positive social change for our communities. RISE projects and services aim to redress social barriers and empower refugee and asylum seeker communities to actively participate in the wider society. Our services include:
We want a society in which refugees and asylum seekers are welcomed, respected, safe and in which we can flourish and achieve our full potential.
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By creating various pathways of opportunity, the RISE team have helped to sustain a more cohesive refugee community in Australia. It is with this passion and perseverance that we believe that RISE services have the potential to further enrich the lives of those seeking a new life in Australia. There is every indication that our work will not only continue but flourish in the future.