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Newsletter for 28 March 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Market - Valla Beach April 1st
Next Roadside Demo - Thurs 6th April Coffs Base Hospital 3pm
March in March Report
Home Among the Gumtrees Update
Sri Lankan Curry Lunch Report

Next market: Valla Beach, Saturday 1st April from 9.00 am to 1.30 pm

Our next market is just a few days away, and we are hoping for better weather, having been rained off at Coffs Harbour and Bellingen recently. As always, we are looking for support between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm to help with getting signatures on our petition, giving out information leaflets, selling our merchandise and interacting with the market goers. You don’t need to have any previous experience or in-depth knowledge about the asylum seeker issues as there are always “old hands” around to assist. If you are able to join us for an hour or two, then please let Mike know by emailing him at :

Roadside demonstration report

Given our very crowded calendar in recent days, it was not surprising that we had just a small (but enthusiastic!) band of demonstrators at the roadside in Coffs Harbour last Thursday, and it was great to welcome a new member to our ranks. As usual, we received lots of very positive feedback from passing motorists, which reinforces our feeling that these demonstrations are very worthwhile. Our next demonstration will be on Thursday 6th April by the Pacific Highway, outside the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour. We will be there with our banners and placards from 3.00 pm until 4.30 pm, so do consider joining us if you can.

March in March report

It was great to have such a large RAR contingent at last Saturday’s March in March. We had enough people to deploy all our banners and placards, so we were a very visible presence for the asylum seeker cause. We collected more than 40 signatures on our petition and raised $200 for the Refugee Advice and Casework Service appeal. A big thank you to all those who were able to join us.

Home Among the Gumtrees Update

Our participation in this venture has been in the works for quite a while, so you will be pleased to learn that it is finally coming to fruition. Just over a week ago, a small group of us met with Sandra Hawker, who is the enthusiastic and hardworking volunteer State Coordinator of the Home Among the Gumtrees  asylum seeker support organisation. The purpose of this volunteer group is to offer some respite for asylum seekers living in capital cities by seeking support from RAR groups to host asylum seeker families for a few days. We are delighted to tell you that an Iranian family – a couple and their two sons -  will be arriving by train on 8th April and will be hosted and supported by members of our  group who had volunteered some time ago to help with this venture.  The cost of their train fares has been met through a combination of our funds and donations. If this first visit goes well, we could consider hosting further visits in the future, provided that we have volunteers willing to participate. We’ll report on the visit in due course.

Curry lunch and auction report

On Sunday, thirty RAR supporters and friends  were treated to a wonderful Sri Lankan lunch, thanks to the amazing generosity of Margie and Georgie, who are longstanding activists in our group. It was a truly fantastic event and greatly enjoyed by everyone who participated. We are greatly indebted to Margie and Georgie for volunteering to put on the wonderful feast and for ensuring that we had a full house for the event. They deserve a medal!  The lunch, together with donations from people who were not able to attend, raised a staggering $1,175 for the Refugee Advice and Casework Service appeal.  We also held an auction between the main course and dessert, with  22 items going under the hammer, raising a further  $962. There were some suggestions that Mike might consider a second career as an auctioneer, but we don’t think that he should be encouraged! The total raised on the day was  $2,137, far exceeding our target of $1,000.  A huge thank you to everyone who contributed. Together with the $200 raised at the March in March, we have been able to send $2,337 to RACS to support their urgent work in assisting asylum seekers to complete their applications for refugee status.

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