It’s Multicultural Queensland Month, and Romero Centre is thrilled to be a finalist in the 2019 Multicultural Queensland Awards! For Romero, being recognised with other amazing organisations gives us the chance to thank the vibrant communities, generous supporters and loyal partners we work alongside to meet the unmet needs and rights of people seeking asylum.

Here are just two recent stories celebrating how Romero and the Queensland community work together in the true spirit of inclusion and harmony – bringing to life the principles of the Multicultural Queensland Charter.

Opening the door to a family’s new home: Majeed, Amina, and 6-year old Sadiq came to Romero in tough circumstances. They were going through a protracted visa review, and had no source of income. On top of this, Majeed was having treatment for lung cancer, and Amina was experiencing some mental health challenges.  Without income, Majeed and Amina couldn’t pay their rent or take on a new lease. Homelessness was a real possibility.

Romero drew on our huge network of Brisbane community, church, and emergency relief partners to support the young family. We assisted Majeed and Amina to pay rent, food and medical bills in the short-term. At the same time, Romero put them in touch with community supports for their wellbeing, while searching for longer-term sustainable shelter.

Luckily, our wonderful network came through with a new home for the family. After that, Brisbane’s generous community spirit continued to shine. Local community groups banded together and organised the family’s shift across town, hiring removal trucks and hauling furniture. Not only that, Sadiq moved to a new school who agreed to supply his uniform and textbooks for free, and to waive all school excursion and activity fees.

A few months later, the family is in a healthier, happier place. Majeed has finished chemotherapy and is on the road to recovery. Romero is supporting Amina with her wellbeing, helping her work on her resume and prepare for employment. And Sadiq is busy making friends at school and with the neighbours’ kids. With the support of our community and partners, Romero was able to help this family find a safe haven.

Expert migration advice kept a family together: Migration legal advice is complex, expensive and time-consuming. For people seeking asylum, who have limited or no income,
asylum, who do not speak or understand English and who are unfamiliar with the Australian legal context, expert advice on migration issues can seem out of reach. Fortunately, Romero’s Migration Advice Clinic provides people seeking asylum and refugees with specialised pro bono advice on visa and immigration issues.

Selena is one of many people who have come to Romero’s welcoming doors requiring assistance with a complex Permanent Residency Visa application process. Selena arrived in Australia from Iran, seeking asylum as a survivor of life-threatening domestic violence. She is the primary carer for her young son, who is an Australian citizen. When we met Selena, her case for permanent residency had stalled and she was seriously concerned about imminent deportation. This would have meant separation from her son, who was aged only seven when Romero first came in touch with the family.

As Selena put it herself, she could not afford to pay a legal consultant “even the least amount” to discuss her unique circumstances. Romero’s Migration Advisor worked tirelessly over 12 months to support not only Selena with her application, but to explain her situation to an MP and obtain a letter of endorsement. Romero is delighted that with our migration expert’s assistance, Selena received her visa and remains happily living in Brisbane with her son.

Selena says she is grateful for the Migration Advisor’s guidance and for the “kind and supportive” Romero staff, adding “I hope you keep continuing this free service at Romero and help change other people’s lives like you did for me”. With the generosity of our loyal supporters who contribute to the work of the Migration Clinic, Romero was able to keep Selena and her son together as a family.

When we work in harmony together, we succeed together. Romero is proud to be part of a multicultural Queensland where we support each other and have each other’s back. Get involved with the Romero community, get support, or get in touch to hear more of our stories!

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