A father’s worst fear: Rishaan’s story

Rishaan* and his daughter came to Australia seeking asylum in the hope of being able to sleep safely at night.

At first things were going well. Rishaan found work and his daughter settled into school and seemed happy for the first time since her mother passed away. When Rishaan saved enough for a bond, they moved into a one-bedroom flat a short walk from school.

But, when the pandemic reached Australia and began to affect businesses, excluded from JobKeeper payments, Rishaan’s employer could no longer afford to keep him on.

Back in his home country Rishaan was a mechanic. Everyone in his street came to see him if they had something that was broken.

“But I can’t fix this for her. Last year I had a job, But because of Covid … no more work.”

Like so many people seeking asylum, Rishaan is ineligible for any Government support payments. Without an income, his savings dwindled and he soon had to choose between rent or food.

For the past seven months, they’ve been squatting in an unused commercial building. Rashaan often goes days without eating to save what he has left for his daughters meals. He is doing everything he can to provide for her.

But finding work, when you don’t have a place to shower, print a resume or iron your clothes, is near impossible.

“She shouldn’t have to live like this. It’s not okay.”

Without emergency support, Rishaan will not be able to get back on his feet. It’s painful for any father, being powerless to provide for his daughter’s needs.

“I want a kitchen where I can cook food for her. A table where she can do her homework. Her own bed.”

Neglected by our Government, the ASRC is stepping up to be a lifeline of support help ensure people who came here seeking safety have food, shelter, dignity and chance at recovery.

Your donation to the ASRC this winter can provide safety and dignity to people seeking asylum.

Please give what you can to our Winter Appeal to support people like Rishaan and his daughter.

Donate now

*This story uses de-identified and amalgamated information to protect the identity of people seeking asylum.

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