Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - LIFESTYLE - Re­becca Isaacs

FOUR asy­lum seeker ad­vo­cates and church work­ers from Western Syd­ney hope to crowd-fund $18,500 to buy a ute to trans­port sec­ond­hand fur­ni­ture to peo­ple in need.

“When asy­lum seek­ers are re­leased into the com­mu­nity they have needs (like) mat­tresses, wash­ing ma­chines, kitchen ap­pli­ances,” Auburn com­mu­nity pas­tor Good­son Mu­leya said.

Mr Mu­leya, who moved his fam­ily from Zam­bia to Syd­ney in 2009, has been stor­ing do­nated goods in his fam­ily garage.

“We had a sim­ple ute that be­came un­fit for use a cou­ple of years ago,” he said.

“Since then I have been pay­ing to hire utes but this has be­come too ex­pen­sive.

“Trans­port has be­come a very big hin­drance.”

With sup­port from Jo-Ann Elvery, David Baker and Amelia Sav­age, The Refugee Ute Pro­ject is aim­ing to solve this trans­port prob­lem.

Mr Baker, an asy­lum seeker ad­vo­cate, said the ute

The crowd-fund­ing pro­ject is run­ning un­til mid­night on Au­gust 5. A week in, it had raised more than $4000, with more than half the do­na­tions above $100.

The Pro­ject’s Face­book page had been shared over 450 times.

“The peo­ple we are help­ing are of­ten highly qual­i­fied but are forced into a sit­u­a­tion where they can’t help them­selves,” Mr Baker said.

“At the heart of the pro­ject is a use­ful and prac­ti­cal re­sponse to a prob­lem.

“Where is my money go­ing? To a ute. A ute that will trans­port much-needed fur­ni­ture. It’s smart, tan­gi­ble and sim­ple.”

Or­gan­is­ers have promised “perks” to donors to thank them for their sup­port.

For $50, donors re­ceive re­sources to help peo­ple bet­ter en­gage with asy­lum seek­ers.

A $1000 do­na­tion qual­i­fies for a cook­ing les­son with Per­sian refugees.

“It’s a win-win sit­u­a­tion,” Mr Baker said.

“The perks are de­signed to ben­e­fit both the donor and refugees in the com­mu­nity.”

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