Somos21’s Pandemic Relief for International Students has already raised over $10,000 to provide e-vouchers for food, rent and essentials for the most vulnerable students within the Latin American community in Australia struggling to cope with the impacts of COVID-19.
Advertising in students’ Spanish and Portugese, in one month the project has raised the equivalent of more than 200 weeks’ worth of groceries for students. Currently sitting at $10,500 of the $25,000 fundraising goal, the project is continuing to seek donations and public support.
Somos21 is now also partnering with Rotary E-Club of Western Australia (E-WA Rotary) and Rotary Australia World Community Service to enable tax deductible donation receipts- the first $15,000 of which will be matched by the Rotary Australia Compassionate Grant, doubling the commitment to $30,000.
Over 300 applicants have applied for relief in under a month- including students like Raphael Alvarenga Lopes, who donated what little he had during our recent bushfire crisis despite his existing financial strain of schooling, immigration and health fees.
Or Argentine couple Candela and Tomas, who have had to resort to selling homemade foods to attempt to cover the cost of their rent. Both having moved here just months ago, the pair are on bridging visas meaning they are unable to work and, battling to cover rental costs, are unable to even afford essential toiletries.
Despite assistance from governments, thousands of international students and temporary visa holders in Australia are being left to battle the COVID-19 pandemic without sufficient support. Surveys in March 2020 from Unions NSW and The Victorian Migrant Workers Centre revealed, from more than 8000 entrees, that 98.7% of temporary migrants were receiving no government income support - 72% of which were international students and 43% of whom admitted to regularly skipping meals to survive the current crisis.
“Somos21 has always sought to open Australia's eyes to the Latin American region,” says Co-Founder and Director of Somos21, Kate Bennett. “This national fundraiser is emblematic of our continued celebration of the Australia/Latin America partnership and affirms our belief in the power of community to support both regions through this crisis,” she said.
The international education sector brings more than $30 billion to the economy, employs hundreds of thousands of Australians and is a long-standing source of the cultural and social diversity that we so proudly boast in our multicultural country.
As restrictions ease and life begins to approach a familiar sense of normality, it is easy to believe that the crisis is over- but for so many of these international students and migrants, that is far from the truth.
In partnership with Rotary E-Club of Western Australia (E-WA Rotary) and Rotary Australia World Community Service.
Help us reach this goal by June 30 by donating HERE
Kate Bennett: “Somos21 has always sought to open Australia's eyes to the Latin American region: the incredible talent from the region that we're blessed to have on our shores and the phenomenal contribution that Latin American students, professionals, entrepreneurs and tourists have made to our lives, our economy, and the rich cultural fabric of our society.”
Kate Bennett: “If anything were to highlight the transformation underway in the Australia/Latin America relationship it would be the collaborative action of our dynamic servant leaders: representatives from across Latin America and Australia working together to ensure there is #noneleftbehind”
Candela: “ In order to pay the rent we were selling some homemade breads and some typical Argentine food but that sometimes doesn’t even cover it. We really need to get toiletries that we can’t afford now.”
Raphael Alverenga Lopez: “During the bush-fires I donated even the little that I had for the benefit of the country… Now I have no guarantee of work, my landlord has not agreed to reduce my rent…after 5 years here it's not simple as to just come back to my country and leave everything behind."
Pamela Sierra: “In all my time in Australia I've paid my taxes and been an active member of my community. Now, I have run out of my savings and I can’t go back home. I have to skip my meals to make sure I have enough to eat for next week"
For all enquiries contact:
Free extra resources to share, promote and engage with from Somos21 regarding COVID-19
Beneficiary Testimonial Promotion
Somos21 Covid-19 Support Group
Pandemic Relief Donations via Somos21