Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

Member Volunteer program

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is Australia’s largest community-led, not-for-profit organisation providing advocacy, aid, and health services for people seeking asylum. 

The LUCRF Super Community Program supports the Member Volunteer program, which facilitates ASRC member (asylum seeker) engagement with a wide variety of volunteering and professional development opportunities. 

For asylum seekers who are yet to be granted work rights, or who have work rights but are unemployed, volunteering at the ASRC provides the best opportunity to develop the language, social and work skills they’ll need to thrive in Australia. 

This initiative recognises that there’s no one better placed to help run the ASRC than the very people the organisation aims to help. By broadening the skills and talents of asylum seekers, the program aims to enhance their employment prospects and ensure that they’re adequately equipped to contribute to their new communities once they leave the centre. 

The program conducts one-on-one assessments with participants and includes a recruitment and interview process. Ongoing support is then provided to successful member volunteers, who work closely with various ASRC program managers to ensure the volunteer experience is beneficial to both parties.

“Without the support from the LUCRF Super Community Program, we would not be able to offer members the current service that we provide through our volunteer engagement such as working with members on a one-on-one basis, assisting them to obtain the required police and Working with Children checks, assisting with the online induction and working with ASRC program managers and external partners to match them to a suitable role.” ASRC Interim Update Report, Feb 2018.

Program highlight

The ASRC Member Volunteer program was a finalist in the 2017 Volunteering Victoria State Awards in the category of ‘Inclusion’ due to the involvement of individuals or groups who are often excluded from the mainstream or traditional volunteering.

“This recognition of your team’s selfless assistance to those of the Australian Community, who are in need, is a marvellous accomplishment.” Hon Bruce Atkinson MLC, Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region, President of the Legislative Council, Parliament of Victoria, Dec 2017.

Sana's storySana’s story

Sana sought asylum in Australia from fear of persecution in Iran, after witnessing the deaths of people who shared their Baha’i faith.

Since connecting with the ASRC, Sana has undertaken a Certificate IV in Accounting and has also improved her English through attending ASRC’s English language courses.

Sana then began volunteering at the ASRC, working one day a week. 

“I am very happy here, and I am very thankful for the ASRC. Most of my confidence was gone, but is coming back," Sana says.

Sana’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.

Nadir’s story

Wanting to provide support to other asylum seekers, Nadir says he volunteers because it continuously teaches him something new about people, about co-operation and compassion, and about himself.

He has found volunteering to be an excellent way to learn new skills. It also adds experience to his resume. In his role at ASRC, he’s been able to take initiative and work independently as well as part of a team.

 “Learning new skills and experiences is always rewarding, and I’m glad that the ASRC gave me the opportunity to gain them and also improve what I may need in the future,” Nadir says.

Nadir’s name has been changed to protect his privacy.

Nigel’s story

Nigel began volunteering at the ASRC in the Advocacy and Campaign stream, though at times he also helps other departments, mostly when it comes to taking photographs.

Nigel sought volunteer opportunities when he had nothing to do. He found that when his mind was idle, it impacted on his mental and physical health. He needed to get out of the house and keep himself busy as well as challenge himself. He thought that he could offer his skills and experience to make a positive change to other people.

Despite the challenges he has faced such as adapting to an Australian work culture, Nigel has loved volunteering and values the opportunity to gain professional experience in an Australian setting. He enjoys meeting different people and learning how to use new information.

Other ASRC programs supported by our Community Program are the Mentoring program and Foodbank.

Get involved | About our Community Program | Project list